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Health Care

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It’s no secret that we need to make real reforms in our health care system to expand access to quality care for all Americans and reduce costs. We must also protect the sanctity of human life and prevent the misuse of federal taxpayer dollars for abortion.

21st Century Cures Act 

I have long pushed for greater emphasis on biomedical research and public health. Beginning in 2014, I partnered with Congresswoman Diana DeGette (D-CO) on the 21st Century Cures initiative. This legislation aims to help patients and their families by expediting the discovery, development, and delivery of life-saving cures - all in a safe and effective way.

The House passed this game-changing medical innovation bill 392 to 26 on November 30, 2016 and the Senate followed suit, voting 94 to 5 on December 7. Marking the peak of our three-year journey, President Obama signed the 21st Century Cures Act into law on December 13, 2016. 

Working together and collaborating not just across the political aisle, but also with the experts outside of Congress, we were able to get the job done. Learn more here: energycommerce.house.gov/cures

21st Century Cures 2.0

Expanding on our successful 21st Century Cures legislation, my colleague Diana DeGette (D-CO) and I recently unveiled the next steps for our bipartisan Cures 2.0 effort that seeks to modernize how we treat the world’s toughest diseases and deliver more life-saving cures to Michigan families and folks across the country.

Cures 2.0 offers hope for tomorrow’s challenges and builds on the many successes of our landmark 21st Century Cures legislation signed into law by President Obama in 2016. Based on the feedback we have received from nearly 500 stakeholders, we will focus our efforts on six key areas of interest to health care providers, patients, and many others.

These categories include public health and pandemic preparedness, caregiver integration, patient engagement in health care decision-making, diversity in clinical trials, and both FDA and CMS modernization. While there is still much work to be done, we’re eager to get the ball rolling on this crucial legislation.

We are living through one of the worst public health crises in more than 100 years, and we can’t afford to wait a second longer to develop solutions to help us address the next crisis that threatens the health and wellbeing of the American people.

Major Mental Health Reforms

Mental health is an issue that impacts every community and so many families in one way or another. As part of the 21st Century Cures Act, we were also able to advance landmark reforms to our mental health system. For years I worked with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to shepherd these bipartisan reforms and reduce the stigma of mental health. Our legislation makes certain the government funds evidence-based programs and removes barriers to care.

Combating Prescription Opioid and Heroin Epidemic 
No community is immune and all too many of us have experienced the devastation and loss firsthand caused by the opioid epidemic. Make no mistake – the opioid crisis cuts through all demographics, races and socioeconomic statuses.

In 2018, Congress took a monumental step to combat this crisis. Thanks to a bipartisan effort, we passed and President Trump signed the Substance Use-Disorder that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment (SUPPORT) for Patients and Communities Act, which represents the most significant congressional effort to confront a single drug crisis in American history.

Developing new, non-addictive pain medications is essential to combating the opioid epidemic. We must also continue our oversight efforts to make sure laws such as the SUPPORT Act and my 21st Century Cures Act - which provided an additional $1 billion to states to address opioid addiction treatment and prevention – are being implemented the way they were intended.

Obamacare 

In May of 2017, the U.S. House of Representatives advanced legislation, the American Health Care Act, that would have repealed and replaced Obamacare, something I have long supported doing. There were several important provisions in this bill that I worked on specifically. These included helping those 31 states – like Michigan – that expanded Medicaid eligibility, continuing coverage for kids until age 26 on their parents’ policies, protecting those with pre-existing illnesses, making certain there was no artificial cap on insurance benefits, and providing tax credits and choices for consumers to select their own plans. As you’re probably aware, I publicly announced that I could not accept a previous version of the AHCA as it undermined my commitment to protect those with a pre-existing illness. As a result, I joined my colleague Congressman Billy Long (R-MO) in adding an amendment that would create a new $8 billion fund aimed at reducing premiums for those with preexisting illnesses in states where a waiver would be granted. I also voted for a separate bill that makes a simple technical change to ensure that the AHCA and its amendments continue to apply to Congress as well. We should not and will not be exempt from any laws we pass here in Congress.

As we continue to search for real solutions to health care policy, we must forge a bipartisan path to ensure all Americans have access to quality, affordable care while always protecting pre-existing conditions.

Streamlining the FDA Approval Process for Prescription Drugs and Medical Devices 

As a major life sciences corridor, Southwest Michigan is a national leader in health care research and manufacturing. In 2011 and 2012, I led the way in the House for the successful reauthorization of the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) user fee programs for prescription drugs and medical devices. By improving the federal evaluation and approval processes, we significantly helped manufactures here in Michigan and throughout the country better compete with companies overseas by allowing them to bring their life-saving products to patients faster.

The Energy and Commerce Committee has since advanced legislation to modernize the review process for new and generic animal drugs as well. This bipartisan animal health legislation (H.R. 1407) was signed into law in June of 2013.

As a member of the Subcommittee on Health, we will be looking to update all these laws this year in order to further ensure that drugs, treatments, and devices get to patients as fast and as safe as possible. We will also use this opportunity to ensure that the 21st Century Cures Act is implemented as Congress intended.


Protecting the Sanctity of Human Life 

As a pro-life Member of Congress, I oppose the misuse of federal taxpayer dollars for abortion services and support the conscience rights of our nation’s health care providers. As Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, I have worked to pass legislation – such as former Representative Joe Pitts’ Protect Life Act – to permanently codify restrictions on federal abortion funding. I have supported both the successful ban on partial-birth abortion and the passage of the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, which recognizes an unborn child as a legal victim, and have supported efforts to criminalize the circumvention of parental notification laws.

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