Tester co-sponsors two healthcare bills

Billings Gazette

by Staff Writer

U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., has signed on as a co-sponsor of two acts: the Mobile Mammography Promotion Act and the Prematurity Research Expansion and Education for Mothers who deliver Infants Early act, better known as the PREEMIE Act.

The mammography bill would allow mammography vans, such as the one St. Vincent Healthcare uses, to purchase fuel without paying a federal excise tax.

In Montana, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women, with about 800 new diagnoses annually. It is the second-leading cause of cancer death in Montana women.

This bill is modeled after several successful existing fuel tax exemptions, such as one for blood banks.

The PREEMIE Act was originally authorized in 2006 and expired at the end of 2011. The act provided $50 million over five years for research into the causes and prevention of prematurity, best practices in prenatal and postnatal care and educational campaigns.

Montana’s overall rate for premature births was 11.5 percent and higher for American Indian Montanans at 15.5 percent.