South Bend Tribune: Legislative Roundup
by Kevin Allen
… U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-Jimtown, spoke on the House floor about the Conscience Protection Act, a bill she co-sponsored to reaffirm and codify existing protections for health care providers who refuse to participate in abortions as a matter of conscience.
“This bill reaffirms protections already in place by prohibiting the federal government and entities that receive federal funding from discriminating against or penalizing those who are exercising their conscience rights,” Walorski said.
“Currently, it’s up to the Department of Health and Human Services to enforce the law — and that’s something this administration has not always been willing to do,” she said. “The Conscience Protection Act will give pro-life health care providers and employers full conscience protections without loopholes or uncertainty.”
… Walorski and U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, joined House Speaker Paul Ryan at an enrollment ceremony marking the passage of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act. They joined other members of the conference committee that negotiated a final agreement between the House and Senate versions of the bill.
“This bipartisan, comprehensive legislation to combat prescription drug and heroin abuse is an important step toward ending the opioid epidemic in this country,” Walorski said.
The final version of the legislation included two measures Walorski wrote to protect veterans. One would require the Department of Veterans Affairs to participate in state prescription drug monitoring programs, and the other would allow the VA to use FDA-approved medical devices and other non-opioid therapies to treat chronic pain.
… Walorski and Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald toured the South Bend Community Based Outpatient Clinic and met with veterans at the facility. They also held a round-table discussion with local VA leaders and stakeholders.
“I appreciate Secretary McDonald’s willingness to spend time with Hoosier veterans and have an open conversation about the problems in our VA system, the progress we’ve made and the work we have left to do,” Walorski said. “We have a duty to make sure every man and woman who served this country in uniform is treated with dignity and respect. That means getting veterans the services and care they deserve, protecting them from overprescription of powerful painkillers, never again allowing a veteran to die waiting for care, and holding the VA accountable when they let our veterans down.”
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