Duckworth Joins Ernst in Introducing Bipartisan Bill to Help Ensure Families Can Access and Afford Diapers
[WASHINGTON D.C.] – U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) joined U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) to introduce the bipartisan Diaper Inclusion in Accounts for Parental Expense Reduction (DIAPER) Act to help ensure that diapers—which are necessary for the health and development of infants and toddlers—are accessible for families who need them. The bill expands flexible spending accounts (FSAs) and health savings accounts (HSAs), which can be used to purchase a number of items relating to health expenses such as adult diapers and bandages, to also include the purchase of disposable infant diapers.
“With so many families struggling to put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads—and with those struggles exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic—the last thing parents should have to worry about is being able to afford diapers that are essential to the health and well-being of their children,” said Senator Duckworth. “I’m proud to work with Senator Ernst on this bipartisan effort to help make this basic need more affordable and accessible for families.”
“Having access to a clean diaper is a basic and absolutely essential necessity for every Iowa parent with a newborn or toddler, but with costs soaring under record inflation, far too many families today are facing difficult choices,” said Senator Ernst. “Addressing this essential need of our parents while prices continue to go up should be a priority for our lawmakers, which is why I’m so pleased to lead this bipartisan proposal to help families get better access to diapers amid cost surges nationwide.”
Duckworth and Ernst are joined by U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Kevin Cramer (R-ND) in introducing the DIAPER Act. The legislation was also endorsed by the following organizations: National Diaper Bank Network, Zero to Three, Save the Children, and the First Five Years Fund.
Last year Senator Duckworth introduced the bipartisan End Diaper Need Act to provide resources to assist low-income and middle-class families address their diaper needs and help ensure the health and well-being of those who rely on diapers, including infants, toddlers, medically complex children, low-income adults and adults with disabilities. This legislation would provide funding through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Social Services Block Grant program to assist families with their diaper needs. It would also provide at least 200 medically necessary diapers per month under the Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services Waiver Program and make medically necessary diapers eligible for reimbursement through HSAs, FSAs, and Archer medical savings accounts, or MSAs. Duckworth is the first Senator to give birth while serving in office and in 2018 she advocated for the Senate to change its rules so she could bring her infant onto the Senate floor.
“Diapers are a basic necessity for keeping children clean, dry, and healthy. However, one in three families struggle to get the diapers they need, leading to preventable health conditions that can require medical intervention. This important legislation recognizes diapers for the essential items that they are and makes it easier for many families to afford the diapers they need,” said Joanne Goldblum, CEO of the National Diaper Bank Network.
“Diapers are a fundamental need for families with babies and toddlers, and this legislation provides families with a valuable new option to better afford this necessary expense. We look forward to supporting this legislation and continuing to work with Senator Ernst to ensure that all families have the supports they need to meet this critical basic need,” said Daniel Hains, Senior Policy Analyst with Zero to Three.
“One out of three families struggle to buy diapers for their children due to high costs, negatively impacting various aspects of life. For instance, many child care facilities require parents to provide diapers for their kids, meaning when families can’t afford them, their kids miss out on important early learning experiences. We can’t allow that to happen. That’s why we’re so thrilled to support this bipartisan legislation. This bill is an important step to ensure kids and families have what they need to thrive,” said Roy Chrobocinski, Managing Director of Domestic Policy at Save the Children.
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