Washington, DC – Congresswoman Jackie Speier (CA-14) and Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) introduced legislation today that would improve care coverage for expecting mothers. The Expanded Genetic Screening Act would expand coverage to include the noninvasive prenatal test (NIPT) to all Medicaid beneficiaries. A few states have expanded Medicaid coverage for average-risk pregnancies, but in the majority of cases Medicaid only covers NIPT for high-risk pregnancies even though the test is more accurate and less invasive.

During pregnancy, expectant mothers may decide to undergo prenatal screenings related to genetic conditions. For decades, the primary screening test has been maternal serum screening (MSS), but new technology has led to the development of more accurate screening options like NIPT. MSS has a false positivity rate of 5.6 percent compared to a 0.09 percent false positivity rate for NIPT.

“NIPT is widely considered to be the gold standard of genetic screening tests and every woman should have access to affordable, high-quality health care, period.” Rep. Speier said. “During the COVID-19 public health crisis, access to NIPT is even more important since the test can be administered in the safety of your own home. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has recommended NIPT for all women regardless of age or pre-existing conditions. It’s past time for the federal government to catch up with the science.”

“Throughout pregnancy, every expectant parent wants to track and understand the development of their unborn child,” said Rep. Cole. “By improving access to more accurate genetic testing than is traditionally covered by Medicaid, we can help families prepare for their child’s arrival and equip them with knowledge to welcome their precious child into the world.”

The Expanded Genetic Screening Act is co-sponsored by Representatives Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01), Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-13), Mary Gay Scanlon (PA-05), and Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40).

The bill is endorsed by the Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs (AMCHP) and Race to Better Health.

A copy of the bill is attached to this press release.

 

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