Issue: Health Care

House Passes Walorski Opioid Bill Named for Hoosier Doctor

House Passes Walorski Opioid Bill Named for Hoosier Doctor

Dr. Todd Graham Pain Management, Treatment, and Recovery Act Would Address Opioid Epidemic by Improving Access to Non-Addictive Pain Treatments

WASHINGTON – The House today passed bipartisan legislation introduced by U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) to combat the opioid epidemic by improving access to non-opioid pain treatments. The bipartisan bill was named in honor of Dr. Todd Graham, the South Bend doctor who was shot to death last summer after refusing to write a prescription for opioid painkillers.

“The opioid epidemic continues to tear apart families and devastate communities all over the country,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “We all need to work together to find commonsense solutions to prevent and treat addiction. Before he was tragically killed, Dr. Todd Graham was leading the way in treating the underlying causes of pain rather than simply prescribing pills. The bipartisan legislation that just passed the House will help build on his legacy by breaking down barriers to non-opioid treatments and giving doctors better tools to prevent addiction and assist in recovery.”

The Dr. Todd Graham Pain Management, Treatment, and Recovery Act (H.R. 6110) passed the House unanimously by voice vote. Dr. Graham’s wife Julie was at the Capitol for the bill’s passage. Video of Congresswoman Walorski speaking on the House floor about the legislation is available here.

BACKGROUND

The House in recent days has passed dozens of bills to prevent opioid abuse, support addiction treatment and recovery, and combat the shipment and sale of illegal drugs. H.R. 6110 is an updated version of legislation Walorski introduced to reduce overprescribing of opioids by examining ways to expand the use of non-opioid alternatives in Medicare. The legislation was recently approved by the Ways and Means Committee.

Among other provisions, H.R. 6110 would direct the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to study ways to improve access to non-opioid pain management treatments. HHS would solicit stakeholder feedback, conduct a study, and submit recommendations to Congress improving payment, coverage, and coding policies related to the use of multi-disciplinary, evidence-based non-opioid treatments for acute and chronic pain management for beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare Part A or B. The study would include an evaluation of possible coverage and payment barriers that prevent Medicare beneficiaries from accessing non-opioid alternative pain treatments and technologies.

H.R. 6110 also includes steps to improve treatment strategies and case management for various high-risk patient populations. It also includes other bipartisan provisions to ensure there are no misaligned financial incentives to prescribe opioids over non-opioid alternatives, and it provides best practices and educational resources for the expansion of addiction treatment for those suffering from mental or behavioral health issues, particularly in rural areas.

Todd A. Graham, M.D., a doctor with more than three decades of service, was shot and killed on July 26th, 2017, after refusing to prescribe an opioid painkiller to the shooter’s wife. Dr. Graham was a double board-certified physician in both Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and Pain Medicine.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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Walorski: We Are Taking Action to Fight Opioid Abuse

Walorski: We Are Taking Action to Fight Opioid Abuse

House Passes Dozens of Bills to Address Epidemic; Will Consider Walorski’s Legislation Named for Dr. Todd Graham

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) today applauded the passage of dozens of bills in the House aimed at fighting the opioid epidemic through prevention, treatment, recovery, and law enforcement efforts.

Next week, the House will consider legislation Walorski introduced to improve access to non-opioid pain treatments. The bill is named for Dr. Todd Graham, the South Bend doctor who was shot to death after refusing to write a prescription for opioid painkillers.

“Opioid abuse is a crisis that affects every community in America, and we are taking action to help fight this epidemic,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “These commonsense solutions will help prevent opioid abuse, treat addiction, and support recovery so people can rebuild their lives. I look forward to continuing our work next week, when the House will consider my bipartisan legislation, named in honor of Dr. Todd Graham, that aims to fight the opioid crisis by expanding access to non-addictive alternatives to treat pain.”

BACKGROUND

The House this week passed more than two dozen bills to prevent opioid abuse, support addiction treatment and recovery, and combat the shipment and sale of illegal drugs. The measures approved by the House include legislation to:

  • Crack down on the shipment of illicit synthetic opioids into the U.S. from overseas (H.R. 5788 – Securing the International Mail Against Opioids Act);
  • Prevent drug traffickers from circumventing the law by creating chemically-altered synthetic drugs (H.R. 2851 – Stop the Importation and Trafficking of Synthetic Analogues Act);
  • Support transitional housing for individuals recovering from opioid addiction (H.R. 5735 – THRIVE Act);
  • Help veterans access treatment for mental health or substance abuse issues (H.R. 2147 – Veterans Treatment Court Improvement Act);
  • Expand peer-to-peer counseling for women veterans (H.R. 4635);
  • Encourage innovative research into non-addictive pain medications (H.R. 5002 – ACE Research Act); and
  • Reduce the number of unused prescription drugs at risk of misuse (H.R. 5041 – Safe Disposal of Unused Medication Act).

Next week, the House will consider additional legislation to combat the opioid epidemic, including a bill Walorski introduced to expand access to non-opioid alternatives for pain treatment. The Dr. Todd Graham Pain Management, Treatment, and Recovery Act (H.R. 6110) aims to reduce overprescribing of opioids by examining ways to expand the use of non-opioid alternatives in Medicare

H.R. 6110 is an updated version of legislation introduced by Walorski and recently approved by the Ways and Means Committee. Among other provisions, it would direct the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to study ways to improve access to non-opioid pain management treatments. HHS would solicit stakeholder feedback, conduct a study, and submit recommendations to Congress improving payment, coverage, and coding policies related to the use of multi-disciplinary, evidence-based non-opioid treatments for acute and chronic pain management for beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare Part A or B. The study would include an evaluation of possible coverage and payment barriers that prevent Medicare beneficiaries from accessing non-opioid alternative pain treatments and technologies.

Todd A. Graham, M.D., a doctor with more than three decades of service, was shot and killed on July 26th, 2017, after refusing to prescribe an opioid painkiller to the shooter’s wife. Dr. Graham was a double board-certified physician in both Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and Pain Medicine.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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Walorski Opposes Cuts to Children’s Health Insurance Program

Walorski Opposes Cuts to Children’s Health Insurance Program

Votes Against Legislation That Would Cut CHIP Funding

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) today voted against legislation that would cut funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which Congress recently extended for 10 years.

“Congress needs to make tough decisions to get our national debt under control, but fiscal responsibility should not come at the cost of children’s health care,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “I do not support cutting funding for CHIP just months after we passed the longest extension in the history of this vital program. I was also concerned that cutting funding to fight agricultural disease outbreaks would hurt family farmers who depend on these efforts. We must cut wasteful spending and be good stewards of taxpayer dollars, but we must do so in ways that do not harm Hoosier families.”

BACKGROUND

Walorski voted against H.R. 3, which would cut $5.1 billion from the Children Health Insurance Fund and $148 million from the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

In February, Congress passed the Bipartisan Budget Act (H.R. 1892) with Walorski’s support. The legislation, which President Trump signed into law, established long-term funding levels and extended CHIP funding for 10 years.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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Walorski Introduces Bipartisan Legislation Ensuring Patient Access to Critical Breakthrough Products

Walorski Introduces Bipartisan Legislation Ensuring Patient Access to Critical Breakthrough Products

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) today joined Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.) in introducing the Ensuring Patient Access to Critical Breakthrough Products Act of 2018 (H.R. 5997), a bill that would guarantee Medicare beneficiaries access to cutting edge medical innovation. The bipartisan legislation is cosponsored by Rep. Terri Sewell (D-Ala.), Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-Fla.), and Rep. Tony Cardenas (D-Calif.).

Currently, Medicare does not automatically cover the latest advances in medical technology. This is true even for medical devices that are approved through the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) expedited review process. The lag between FDA’s approval and Medicare’s coverage determination can take up to three years. The Ensuring Patient Access to Critical Breakthrough Products Act would require Medicare to cover all breakthrough products that are approved through the FDA’s expedited review process for three years. Within those three years Medicare must make a permanent coverage determination. For a medical device to earn the “breakthrough” designation the new technology must meet the following criteria:

  • provides more effective treatment or diagnosis of life-threatening or irreversibly debilitating diseases or conditions;
  • has no approved alternatives;
  • offers significant advantages over existing approved alternatives; or
  • availability is in the best interest of patients.

“The best way to encourage life-saving medical innovation is to remove unnecessary barriers to patients getting the cutting-edge medical products they need,” Rep. Walorski said. “By allowing Medicare patients to access breakthrough technologies faster, the Patient Access to Critical Breakthroughs Act will expand treatment options for patients and open new doors for future innovative therapies and cures.”

“It makes no sense that Medicare drags it feet to cover cutting edge technologies especially when the FDA works to expedite their own review process for these same treatments. Seniors shouldn’t have to wait to access medical products that can change or even save their lives,” Rep. DelBene said. “The guaranteed coverage of these breakthrough technologies will also foster investment in the industry and which will yield greater advances in the future.”

“America’s medical device manufacturers and innovators are working every day to develop cutting-edge life-saving therapies and devices,” said Rep. Terri A. Sewell. “We must ensure that the review and approval process for breakthrough therapies doesn’t inhibit patient access to the most innovative and effective technologies coming to market. The introduction of the Ensuring Patient Access to Critical Breakthrough Products Act of 2018 is a step towards streamlining the regulatory process and ensuring that these devices reach the patients who need them in a timely manner.”

“This legislation will help millions of seniors on Medicare by ensuring more timely access to the treatments they need,” said Congressman Bilirakis. “Additionally, there are more than 600 medical device companies in our state working to develop innovative and effective products.  During a roundtable discussion in my district, I heard from many of these businesses about how these lengthy and unnecessary Medicare coverage delays create a significant barrier in bringing new products to market. This bill is about connecting patients with important devices and technologies more quickly. Additionally, it is about encouraging innovation rather than stifling it. Government has to get out of the way and streamline the payment process for effective new devices that can ultimately help improve and save lives.”

“I am proud to co-sponsor this bill, as it would streamline Medicare coverage for approved technologies that go through the FDA’s medical device review process. This would provide patients with timely access to life-saving innovations. It would also promote a more efficient regulatory ecosystem so that the roughly 1,700 medical device companies in California could continue to develop and innovate and spend more time taking care of customers in need,” said Rep. Cardenas.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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Walorski Bill to Combat Opioid Epidemic Approved by Committee

Walorski Bill to Combat Opioid Epidemic Approved by Committee

Dr. Todd Graham Pain Management Improvement Act Would Improve Access to Non-Opioid Alternative Treatments

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) today applauded committee passage of her bipartisan legislation to combat the opioid epidemic by improving access to non-opioid pain treatments.

The Dr. Todd Graham Pain Management Improvement Act (H.R. 5722), named for the South Bend doctor shot to death after refusing to write a prescription for opioid painkillers, was approved by the Ways and Means Committee as part of broader legislation to address opioid abuse. Dr. Graham’s wife Julie was in the audience as the committee voted to send the legislation to the House floor.

“Opioid abuse is a serious crisis in our communities, and we need to work together to find commonsense solutions to prevent and treat addiction,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “Before he was tragically killed, Dr. Todd Graham was leading the way in treating the underlying causes of pain rather than simply prescribing pills. With this bipartisan legislation, we can give doctors better tools to treat pain and prevent addiction so they can follow Dr. Graham’s example.”

“Todd’s mission as a doctor was to help his patients by treating their pain, not just masking it,” Julie Graham said. “He understood how important non-opioid alternatives are to preventing addiction and helping people lead better lives. I can’t think of a better way to honor Todd’s legacy than to help his fellow doctors give their patients the care that’s right for them.”

BACKGROUND

Video of Congresswoman Walorski speaking about the Dr. Todd Graham Pain Management Improvement Act at the committee markup can be found here.

H.R. 5722 aims to reduce overprescribing of opioids by examining ways to expand the use of non-opioid alternatives in Medicare. It was included in the Medicare and Opioid Safe Treatment (MOST) Act (H.R. 5776), one of several bills passed by the Ways and Means Committee to address the opioid crisis.

H.R. 5722 would direct the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to study ways to improve access to non-opioid pain management treatments. HHS would solicit stakeholder feedback, conduct a study, and submit recommendations to Congress improving payment, coverage, and coding policies related to the use of multi-disciplinary, evidence-based non-opioid treatments for acute and chronic pain management for beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare Part A or B. The study would include an evaluation of possible coverage and payment barriers that prevent Medicare beneficiaries from accessing non-opioid alternative pain treatments and technologies. More details on the legislation and the full bill text are available here.

Todd A. Graham, M.D., a doctor with more than three decades of service, was shot and killed on July 26th, 2017, after refusing to prescribe an opioid painkiller to the shooter’s wife. Dr. Graham was a double board-certified physician in both Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and Pain Medicine.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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Walorski Introduces Legislation to Combat Opioid Epidemic

Walorski Introduces Legislation to Combat Opioid Epidemic

Bipartisan Bill Named for Dr. Todd Graham, South Bend Doctor Killed After Refusing to Prescribe Opioids, Aims to Expand Non-Opioid Treatments

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) today introduced bipartisan legislation to combat the opioid epidemic by improving access to non-opioid pain treatments. The Dr. Todd Graham Pain Management Improvement Act (H.R. 5722), named for the South Bend doctor shot to death after refusing to write a prescription for opioid painkillers, aims to reduce overprescribing of opioids by examining ways to expand the use of non-opioid alternatives in Medicare. Walorski was joined by Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.) in introducing the bill.

“Opioid abuse is devastating families and communities across the country, and the senseless murder of my dear friend Dr. Todd Graham was a tragic reminder of how serious this crisis is,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “We have already taken steps to reduce overprescribing of opioids, but we must do more to ensure patients have access to non-addictive pain management options. As we continue working toward commonsense solutions to the opioid epidemic, this bipartisan bill will help break down barriers to non-opioid treatments and give doctors better tools to prevent addiction.”

“As opioid addiction impacts families in every community across the country, it’s imperative that we find alternatives to keep more individuals from that destructive path. That starts with expanding options for patients,” said Rep. Chu. “And with millions of beneficiaries, Medicare is one of our best tools for that. When it comes to combatting this crisis, patients need to have access to every tool in the toolbox that can help treat and manage pain. I want to thank Jackie Walorski for her hard work on this bill as well. The opioid epidemic knows no partisanship, and I am proud to partner with Rep. Walorski to bring life-saving alternatives to opioids to more Americans.”

BACKGROUND

The Dr. Todd Graham Pain Management Improvement Act of 2018 would require the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to conduct a study and submit recommendations to Congress on improving access to non-opioid pain management treatments.

H.R. 5722 would direct HHS to solicit stakeholder feedback and conduct a study on ways to improve payment, coverage, and coding policies related to the use of multi-disciplinary, evidence-based non-opioid treatments for acute and chronic pain management for beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare Part A or B. The study would include an evaluation of possible coverage and payment barriers that prevent Medicare beneficiaries from accessing non-opioid alternative pain treatments and technologies.

The study would include evaluations of potential legislative and administrative changes to Medicare to allow beneficiaries better access to non-opioid treatments for pain, such as cognitive behavioral interventions, physical therapy, occupational therapy, physical medicine, biofeedback, chiropractic, and acupuncture therapy. It would also provide analysis of Medicare coverage and payment for medical devices, non-opioid based drugs, and other therapies (including interventional and integrative pain therapies) approved or cleared by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of pain.

In addition, the bill would direct HHS to analyze the VA/DoD Clinical Practice Guideline for Management of Opioid Therapy for Chronic Pain to consider whether the adoption of the VA/DoD pain rating scale would be more beneficial to Medicare patients with chronic pain.

The bill would also require HHS to develop recommendations on legislative and administrative action in the following policy areas:

  • Expanding coverage and payment for non-opioid pain management therapy options that minimize the risk of substance use disorder;
  • Treatment strategies for beneficiaries with psychiatric disorders or substance use disorders, those who are at risk of suicide, or those with other comorbidities that require specialty care;
  • Appropriate case management for beneficiaries who transition between inpatient and outpatient settings, or between opioid therapy to non-opioid therapy; and
  • Outreach to educate Medicare beneficiaries and providers on alternative, non-opioid therapies to manage and treat acute and chronic pain, including potential creation of a beneficiary education tool.

HHS would consult with stakeholders, including frontline provider and beneficiary groups, to ensure input is provided from across the medical community.

Todd A. Graham, M.D., a doctor with more than three decades of service, was shot and killed on July 26th, 2017, after refusing to prescribe an opioid painkiller to the shooter’s wife. Dr. Graham was a double board-certified physician in both Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and Pain Medicine.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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House Passes Bill to Rebuild Military, Invest in Infrastructure, Boost Opioid Response

House Passes Bill to Rebuild Military, Invest in Infrastructure, Boost Opioid Response

FY18 Funding Legislation Also Includes Walorski Provision to Reduce Costs and Red Tape for American Manufacturers

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) today released the following statement after the House passed legislation to rebuild the military, give servicemembers a raise, invest in infrastructure, combat the opioid crisis, and help American manufacturers and farmers:

“After years of neglect, our Armed Forces are finally getting the resources necessary to begin rebuilding, boost military readiness, and defend our nation from any enemy. With this bill, we are delivering on our constitutional obligation to provide for the common defense. And we are giving our troops the tools, training, and support they need – including their biggest pay raise in eight years.

“We are also making key investments in fighting the opioid epidemic, modernizing our nation’s infrastructure, securing our borders, making schools safer, and supporting American manufacturers, farmers, and small businesses. This is a critical step as we continue building on the economic momentum from pro-growth reforms and working toward commonsense solutions that help Hoosier families thrive.”

BACKGROUND

The House passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018 (H.R. 1625) by a vote of 256 to 167. The bill, which provides funding for the remainder of fiscal year 2018, now heads to the Senate.

National Defense: Supports rebuilding our Armed Forces by providing the largest increase in defense funding in 15 years, including resources to increase troop levels, boost military readiness, improve training, and invest in maintenance and new equipment. It also funds a 2.4 percent pay raise for our servicemembers – their biggest in eight years.

Veterans: Includes record funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), including more resources for health care, addiction treatment, and facility improvements.

Opioids: Provides nearly $4 billion to help communities fight the opioid epidemic – the largest federal investment to date – including funding for treatment, prevention, and law enforcement.

Manufacturers: Cuts costs and red tape for American manufacturers, including in the RV industry, with a provision Walorski authored to fix a technical issue in the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) tariff relief program, which is reauthorized for three years.

Farmers: Fixes the Section 199A “grain glitch,” a drafting error in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to ensure farmers get the same tax benefits when they sell to private companies as they would when selling to co-ops. Walorski recently signed a letter urging congressional leaders to quickly resolve the issue.

Infrastructure: Invests in building a modern infrastructure for the 21st century, including roads, bridges, public transit, airways, railways, waterways, energy, and broadband. Walorski led

Border Security: Boosts border security by funding $2.9 billion in security improvements and technology, including $1.57 billion to begin construction of the border wall.

School Safety: Protects students by implementing key provisions of the STOP School Violence Act, which the House passed last week, and providing more than $2.3 billion in new funding for mental health, training, and school safety programs. The bill also fixes and fully funds the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background System (NICS) to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous criminals while protecting the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans.

Tax Cuts: Ensures the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has the resources necessary to fully implement the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the historic tax reform law that cut taxes for Americans at all income levels and restored America’s economic competitiveness.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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Walorski Urges HHS Secretary to Improve Communication Between State Opioid Databases

Walorski Urges HHS Secretary to Improve Communication Between State Opioid Databases

Secretary Azar Calls PDMP Interoperability “Vital Issue” in Fight Against Opioid Epidemic

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) today urged Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar to examine ways to improve communication among state prescription drug monitoring databases (PDMPs) in order to better prevent opioid overprescribing and identify patients in need of addiction treatment.

“While state PDMPs are important, they have trouble with a group of patients that either live across a border in Michigan, or they’re around the entire U.S. for various reasons,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “Having up-to-date patient information would empower providers to deny inappropriate treatments or recommend addiction treatments to be started based on what they discover.”

BACKGROUND

Secretary Azar, a Hoosier who was recently sworn in as HHS secretary, testified before the House Ways and Means Committee about President Trump’s fiscal year 2019 budget proposal for the department.

State PDMPs are electronic databases of prescriptions of controlled substances, including opioids, that help prevent overprescribing and deter drug abuse. However, data-sharing among states is inconsistent.

At a recent subcommittee hearing, Walorski questioned HHS and CMS officials about efforts to identify and prevent fraudulent prescribing practices that fuel the opioid crisis.

Walorski today also asked Secretary Azar to consider an innovative solution to reduce Medicare bad debt claims and help Medicare patients pay their medical bills. In October, she introduced H.R. 3920 to expand the use of interest-free, third-party payment arrangements to improve Medicare patients’ access to care and help ease the financial burden of costly hospital bills.

Video of Walorski questioning Azar at today’s hearing is available here. A transcript of their exchange is below.

REP. WALORSKI: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and Mr. Secretary, my fellow Hoosier, it’s good to see you, welcome. I wanted to add my yes and amen to my colleague Representative Paulsen’s comments about opioids, non-opioid alternatives, getting insurance companies to be able to cover these things, and I’ve already heard you out.

For the sake of time, I wanted to mention one other thing that I look forward to discussing with you. The budget proposes reforming Medicare payments related to bad debts. I have a piece of legislation, H.R. 3920, that would require CMS to implement a three-year demonstration program to study the use of interest-free payments under Medicare Part A. I have a hospital in my district that has implemented this concept of interest-free payments and have seen improved patient satisfaction, improved health outcomes, and a reduction of bad debts.

Is that something you’re willing to work with, interest in, trying to come up with that kind of a model?

SEC. AZAR: Sure, I’d be happy to learn more about that, I had not been familiar with that model.

REP. WALORSKI: And my other question is this. A group of doctors in my district have expressed to me the need to fund the National All Schedules Prescription Electronic Reporting – it’s called NASPER – program. They feel this program provides them with a complete past medical history regarding prescriptions on controlled medications. While state PDMPs are important, they have trouble with a group of patients that either live across a border in Michigan or they’re around the entire U.S. for various reasons. Having up-to-date patient information would empower providers to deny inappropriate treatments or recommend addiction treatments to be started based on what they discover.

Does funding NASPER help provide funding resources for interoperability between these PDMPs so providers better identify patients at risk for addiction, especially those patients who do not live within a state’s border? Do you have other suggestions on how you think we can empower providers to identify at-risk patients?

SEC. AZAR: So the budget actually does propose requiring the state prescription drug monitoring programs, and I believe there may be something, I want to get back to you on this, around the interoperability across state lines, because that is a vital issue, I just cannot remember but I think there’s something in our budget about that.

REP. WALORSKI: Thank you so much. Mr. Chairman, I yield back.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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Walorski Statement on Budget Agreement That Fully Funds Military

Walorski Statement on Budget Agreement That Fully Funds Military

Congress Passes Long-Term Budget to Rebuild Military, Combat Opioid Epidemic, Help Hoosier Families Thrive

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) today released the following statement after voting to send President Trump a long-term budget agreement that fully funds the military, provides resources to combat the opioid epidemic, and advances evidence-based solutions to help Hoosier families thrive:

“Years of irresponsible and arbitrary defense cuts have jeopardized our national security, diminished our military readiness, and endangered our troops in the field. It’s time for that to end.

“Today we are delivering on our promise to rebuild the military and get our brave servicemen and women the tools, training, and support they need to keep our nation safe.

“We are also making critical investments to combat the opioid epidemic, as well as advancing commonsense solutions to help Hoosier families achieve the American Dream. This bill is far from perfect, but it is a necessary step as we continue working with President Trump to build a stronger and safer country.”

BACKGROUND

The House passed the Bipartisan Budget Act (H.R. 1892) by a vote of 240 to 186. The legislation, which establishes long-term funding levels and includes an extension of current funding through March 23, passed the Senate earlier Friday and now heads to the president’s desk for his signature.

Military Funding

The Bipartisan Budget Act ensures the military is fully funded at levels consistent with the fiscal year (FY) 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) so our servicemembers have the tools, equipment, and training necessary to keep the nation safe. It includes a 2.4 percent raise for our troops – their biggest pay increase in eight years – as well as an increase in active duty, national guard, and reserve forces and additional resources to close the readiness gap.

Defense funding will increase by $80 billion this year and $85 billion next year, unwinding the sequestration cuts that jeopardized our national security. The House previously passed defense funding at FY18 NDAA levels, but the legislation was repeatedly blocked in the Senate.

President Trump expressed strong support for the budget agreement, and Defense Secretary James Mattis stated it “will ensure our military can defend our way life, preserve the promise of prosperity, and pass on the freedoms you and I enjoy to the next generation.”

VA Maintenance

Includes an additional $4 billion to reduce the maintenance backlog at Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) facilities.

Opioid Epidemic

Provides $6 billion over two years to combat the opioid epidemic through grants, prevention programs, and law enforcement efforts.

Community Health Centers

Extends funding for community health centers – which take an innovative, patient-focused approach to ensure vulnerable and underserved populations have access to quality, affordable health care – for two years. In November, the House passed the CHAMPIONING HEALTHY KIDS Act (H.R. 3922) to fund CHIP, community health centers, and other important public health priorities.

Home Visiting Program

Extends the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program for five years, with additional flexibility for states and new requirements to ensure it remains an effective, evidence-based program. In September 2017, the House passed the Increasing Opportunity through Evidence-Based Home Visiting Act (H.R. 2824).

CHIP

Extends the state Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for 10 years – an additional four years beyond the reauthorization Congress recently passed into law.

Interstate Foster Care

Includes bipartisan legislation Walorski introduced to speed up interstate foster care placement. In June 2017, the House passed the Modernizing the Interstate Placement of Children in Foster Care Act (H.R. 2742), which would help states move to an electronic system for foster care placement and adoptions across state lines in order to reduce the delays and costs of paperwork.

Social Impact Partnerships

Includes the Social Impact Partnerships to Pay for Results Act (H.R. 576), legislation sponsored by Walorski to support innovative, evidence-based solutions through social impact partnership programs that deliver results.

Seniors’ Health Care

Protects seniors’ access to health care by repealing the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) created under Obamacare. In November 2017, the House passed the Protecting Seniors’ Access to Care Act (H.R. 849) to prevent the board of unelected bureaucrats from cutting Medicare.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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Walorski Votes to Fully Fund Military, Renew Community Health Centers

Walorski Votes to Fully Fund Military, Renew Community Health Centers

House Passes Bill to Keep Government Open, Provide Full Year of Defense Funding, Extend Community Health Centers for Two Years

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) today released the following statement after the House passed legislation to fully fund the Department of Defense for the remainder of fiscal year (FY) 2018, extend funding for community health centers for two years, and keep the government open:

“For too long, our troops have been forced to operate under a cloud of uncertainty because long-term military funding has been stuck in the Senate. This bill gives our armed forces the resources necessary to keep us safe. It’s time to give our men and women in uniform the tools, training, and support they need – as well as the pay raise they’ve more than earned.

“Community health centers play an essential role in serving our most vulnerable neighbors, which is why I’ve worked to renew funding for these health care providers. This bill extends funding for two years so Hoosiers who rely on community health centers continue to have access to quality, affordable health care.

“The faster we can place vulnerable children in stable homes through foster care and adoption, the better chance they will have to thrive and succeed. This bill includes legislation I introduced to eliminate unnecessary paperwork in interstate adoptions and foster care placement to reduce excessive delays and help children lead better lives.

“The bill we passed will keep our nation safe, help Hoosier families, and keep the government open, and I hope the Senate does the responsible thing and quickly sends it to the president’s desk.”

BACKGROUND

The House passed the Further Extension of Continuing Appropriations Act of 2018 (H.R. 1892), which provides funding through March 23, 2018, by a vote of 245 to 182.

Full-Year Military Funding

The bill includes $659.2 billion for the Department of Defense through the end of FY 2018 to provide the military with the resources, tools, and training necessary to keep the nation safe. The funding includes a 2.4 percent raise for servicemembers – their biggest pay increase in eight years – as well as an increase in active duty, national guard, and reserve forces.

The House has previously passed defense funding for the full fiscal year consistent with the FY18 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), including passage last week of H.R. 695, but the legislation has been repeatedly blocked in the Senate.

Community Health Centers

The bill extends funding for community health centers for two years. The Community Health Center Fund supports thousands of community health centers nationwide, including local providers like HealthLinc, Indiana Health Centers, and Heart City Health. These centers take an innovative, patient-focused approach to ensure vulnerable Hoosiers and those in underserved areas have access to quality, affordable health care.

Walorski supported the CHAMPIONING HEALTHY KIDS Act (H.R. 3922) when it passed the House in November. This legislation included funding for the state Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), community health centers, and other important public health priorities.

Congress passed a long-term reauthorization of CHIP in the short-term funding bill President Trump signed into law on January 22, 2018.

Helping Children and Families

The bill includes bipartisan legislation Walorski introduced to speed up the process of placing children with foster families in other states. The Modernizing the Interstate Placement of Children in Foster Care Act (H.R. 2742), which would help states move to an electronic system for interstate foster care placement in order to reduce the delays and costs of paperwork, previously passed the House in June 2017 by voice vote.

The bill also includes the Social Impact Partnerships to Pay for Results Act (H.R. 576), legislation sponsored by Walorski to support innovative, evidence-based solutions through social impact partnership programs that deliver results.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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