Issue: Health Care

Walorski Votes to End Government Shutdown

Walorski Votes to End Government Shutdown

Congress Passes Bill to Reopen Government, Suspend Job-Killing Tax, Reauthorize CHIP for Six Years

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) today voted to send the president legislation that ends the government shutdown, suspends the job-killing medical device tax for two years, and reauthorizes the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for six years.

“After Senate Democrats held the government hostage over an unrelated immigration issue for three days, a bill to end the government shutdown is finally on its way to the president’s desk,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “Not only does this bill allow our military to resume full maintenance and training operations, it also protects Hoosier jobs from the medical device tax and ensures millions of kids continue to have health coverage through CHIP. This shutdown was irresponsible and unnecessary, and I’m glad it’s over. I hope congressional Democrats will leave these partisan games behind so we can work together for the American people.”

BACKGROUND

The House today passed an amended version of H.R. 195, the Extension of Continuing Appropriations Act, by a vote of 266 to 150. The bill, which passed the Senate earlier Monday, would extend government funding through February 8, 2018, as well as suspend the medical device tax for two years and renew CHIP funding for six years. The bill now heads to President Trump to be signed into law.

The House last week passed nearly identical legislation extending government funding through February 16, 2018, but Senate Democrats blocked the bill, leading to a three-day partial shutdown of the federal government.

Congresswoman Walorski in December introduced H.R. 4617, which would suspend for five years the 2.3 percent excise tax on medical device sales enacted under Obamacare. Congress in 2015 delayed the tax through 2017. The House has also passed legislation to permanently repeal the tax.

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

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Statement from Indiana Republican Members of Congress on Funding Bill

Statement from Indiana Republican Members of Congress on Funding Bill

WASHINGTON – U.S. Representatives Jackie Walorski (IN-02), Jim Banks (IN-03), Todd Rokita (IN-04), Susan Brooks (IN-05), and Larry Bucshon, M.D., (IN-08) today released the following statement after the House passed legislation to reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), suspend the medical device tax, and keep the government open:

“The House took action to stop the job-killing medical device tax, extend CHIP for six years, and provide critical funding for our military. Now Senate Democrats have a choice: they can protect Hoosier jobs, fund children’s health care, and support our troops, or they can shut the government down. This shouldn’t be a difficult decision to make. We hope they side with Hoosier workers and families by rejecting a politically-motivated government shutdown.”

BACKGROUND

The House on Thursday passed H.R. 195, the Extension of Continuing Appropriations Act, by a vote of 230 to 197. The bill would extend government funding through February 16, 2018, suspend the medical device tax for two years, and renew CHIP funding for six years.

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Walorski Supports Funding Bill with Medical Device Tax Relief, CHIP Reauthorization

Walorski Supports Funding Bill with Medical Device Tax Relief, CHIP Reauthorization

Bill Suspends Job-Killing Tax, Extends CHIP for Six Years, Averts Government Shutdown

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) today released the following statement after voting to suspend the job-killing medical device tax for two years, reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for six years, and avert a government shutdown that would damage military readiness and put servicemembers at risk:

“Obamacare’s medical device tax is a proven job-killer, especially in northern Indiana. That’s why I fought to include a two-year suspension of the tax in this bill. It will provide relief to local manufacturers, protect Hoosier jobs, and allow Congress to get back to work on a full and permanent repeal of the tax.

“The Children’s Health Insurance Program makes a real difference in people’s lives. This bill fully funds CHIP for six years – the longest extension in the history of the program – so Hoosier families who depend on it can have peace of mind that this program isn’t going away.

“Now that the House has taken action, it’s time for the Senate to send this bill to the president’s desk. A government shutdown would put our brave men and women in uniform at risk, and it would harm our national security. I hope Senate Democrats will put politics aside and pass this critical bill, because our soldiers should never be used as bargaining chips.”

BACKGROUND

The House passed H.R. 195, the Extension of Continuing Appropriations Act, by a vote of 230 to 197. The bill extends government funding through February 16, 2018, suspends the medical device tax for two years, and extends CHIP funding for six years.

Congresswoman Walorski in December introduced H.R. 4617, which would suspend the 2.3 percent excise tax on medical device sales for five years. Congress in 2015 delayed the tax for two years, but it is set to take effect once again in 2018. The House has also passed legislation to permanently repeal the tax.

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

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2017 in Review: Delivering on Our Promises

2017 in Review:
Delivering on Our Promises

Last year, I worked with my colleagues in Congress and with President Trump to deliver on the promises we made to the American people. We made a lot of progress on the American people’s agenda. But we still have more to do, and I’m ready to get back to work. Now that 2018 is here, I couldn’t be more excited to start another year of fighting for Hoosiers and putting America on a stronger path.

As we get back to work in Congress, here are a few of the biggest wins of 2017:

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act became law.

Congress passed and President Trump signed into law the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. That means hardworking Hoosiers at all income levels will be getting a tax cut. Middle-income Americans will be able to keep more of the money they earn. And businesses will be able to grow, invest, hire more workers, and raise wages.

Obamacare’s individual mandate was repealed.

As part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the burdensome individual mandate penalty under Obamacare was repealed. That means no one will be forced to buy a health insurance plan they don’t want and can’t afford.

Our troops are getting a pay raise.

The bipartisan National Defense Authorization Act will give our troops their biggest pay raise in eight years and ensure they have the tools, training, and support they need to confront any threat. And it boosts investment in our Armed Forces after years of underfunding so the military can rebuild and keep our nation safe.

Congress took action to counter Iran and North Korea.

Iran is the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism and continues to test ballistic missiles in violation of international law. North Korea is a menace that regularly threatens to destroy the United States and our allies with nuclear weapons. We have taken action to counter the growing threat these rogue regimes pose with robust and wide-ranging sanctions.

We passed reforms to hold the VA accountable.

We have a responsibility to the brave men and women who served this country in uniform. That’s why we passed the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act into law. It will give the VA secretary important new tools to create a culture of accountability and ensure employees in VA facilities across the country put veterans first.

The House passed concealed carry reciprocity.

Americans don’t lose their Second Amendment rights when they cross state lines, and they shouldn’t lose their concealed carry rights either. I voted for the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act to protect the rights of law-abiding gun owners and allow those qualified to carry a concealed firearm to do so in any state that allows it.

We rolled back burdensome regulations.

Under the previous administration, burdensome regulations were holding back our small businesses, farmers, and other job creators. Congress and President Trump worked together to roll back costly regulations, and the House passed bills like the REINS Act to rein in the bureaucracy and change how Washington works.

Walorski Introduces Bill to Provide Relief from Job-Killing Medical Device Tax

Walorski Introduces Bill to Provide Relief from Job-Killing Medical Device Tax

Obamacare Tax on Innovative Health Products Would Hit Hoosier Manufacturers, Destroy Jobs

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) today introduced legislation to suspend Obamacare’s medical device tax for five years.

“The job-killing medical device tax would have a devastating impact on Hoosier workers and patients across the country who depend on life-saving medical innovation,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “I am committed to permanently ending this burdensome tax. As we continue working toward repeal, we must protect workers and patients by preventing it from taking effect.”

BACKGROUND

Walorski joined Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-Minn.) in introducing H.R. 4617, which would provide relief for five years from Obamacare’s 2.3 percent excise tax on medical device sales. Congress in 2015 delayed the tax for two years, but it is set to take effect once again in 2018. The House has also passed legislation to permanently repeal the tax.

H.R. 4617 was among several bills introduced by members of the Ways and Means Committee aimed at protecting American families and job creators from Obamacare taxes set to take effect in 2018.

  • H.R. 4618, introduced by Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-Kan.), provides relief for two years from the tax on over-the-counter medications, expanding access and reducing health care costs by once again allowing for reimbursement under consumer-directed accounts.
  • H.R. 4620, introduced by Rep. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.), provides relief in 2018 from the Health Insurance Tax that drives up health care costs, if the insurer provides the plan holder with a premium rebate and delays the tax in 2019 for all insurers.
  • H.R. 4619, introduced by Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.), provides needed relief from the Health Insurance Tax, for 2 years for health care plans regulated by Puerto Rico.
  • H.R. 4616, introduced by Reps. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) and Mike Kelly (R-Pa.), delivers three years of retroactive relief and one year of prospective relief from the harmful employer mandate paired with a one-year delay of the Cadillac Tax.

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

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Walorski Testifies on Opioid Crisis Before House Subcommittee

Walorski Testifies on Opioid Crisis Before House Subcommittee

Outlines Policy Priorities for Treating Chronic Pain and Ending Epidemic of Opioid Abuse

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) today testified before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health about the nationwide opioid epidemic and the related problem of chronic pain.

“Pain is the number one reason why Americans seek health care, the number one cause of disability, and costs the U.S. economy more than $600 billion in direct health care costs and lost productivity,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “The veteran population is particularly impacted by the chronic pain crisis, with more than 50 percent of VA patients reporting chronic pain. We can reduce demand by more effectively treating chronic pain and providing better access to FDA-approved non-opioid pharmaceuticals, advanced medical devices, and integrated alternative therapies.”

At the hearing, Walorski outlined three policy priorities for addressing the related problems of opioid abuse and chronic pain: recognizing the importance of a multi-disciplinary approach to pain management; promoting cutting-edge research to encourage effective alternatives to opioids; and advancing best practices in pain management within Medicare.

Congress last year passed into law the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, bipartisan legislation to address the nationwide opioid epidemic. Congresswoman Walorski served on the conference committee that negotiated the final bill, which included two provisions she authored. One requires the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to participate in state prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs), and the other allows the VA to use FDA-approved medical devices and other non-opioid therapies to treat chronic pain.

Walorski recently questioned Medicare’s top fraud prevention official at a Ways and Means Committee hearing about how safeguards failed to prevent a doctor in Indiana from prescribing more than $1 million in opioids to 108 patients under Medicare’s prescription drug program.

Video of Walorski testifying before the subcommittee is available here, and the text of her written testimony is below.

Thank you Chairman Burgess and Ranking Member Green for holding this hearing on the opioid crisis.

America is facing two inter-related public health epidemics: chronic pain and opioid addiction, misuse, and abuse. A long-term solution to the opioid epidemic will not be achieved without addressing the challenge of appropriately treating chronic pain.

According to the Institute of Medicine (IOM), 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain. Pain is the number one reason why Americans seek health care, the number one cause of disability, and costs the U.S. economy more than $600 billion in direct health care costs and lost productivity. The veteran population is particularly impacted by the chronic pain crisis, with more than 50 percent of VA patients reporting chronic pain.

Thousands of lives are lost to both opioid-related overdose and chronic pain-related suicide. Furthermore, 80 percent of heroin users started with prescription opioids. Reducing the supply of or access to opioids will not by itself solve this crisis. We can reduce demand by more effectively treating chronic pain and providing better access to FDA-approved non-opioid pharmaceuticals, advanced medical devices, and integrated alternative therapies.

As we look to develop policy, we should:

  1. Recognize the importance of a multi-disciplinary approach to pain management as a key component of overcoming the opioid crisis. Chronic pain is a pervasive and largely unaddressed public health crisis. Solving it is a crucial part of solving the larger opioid epidemic.
  2. Promote cutting-edge pain research to encourage effective opioid alternatives. High-quality evidence is urgently needed to help clinicians and patients make informed decisions about how to manage chronic pain safely and understand the causes and mechanisms of chronic pain.
  3. Advance best practices in pain management within Medicare. In 2016, one in three Medicare Part D beneficiaries received a prescription opioid. The GAO should conduct a study of the coverage options offered within Medicare for evidence-based pain management as an alternative to opioid prescriptions. Also, there should be a review of the Graduate Medical Education program’s training and education of providers on pain management and opioid prescriptions.

I hope these ideas will be helpful for in future policy discussions to reduce the abuse of opioids in our communities. Thank you for the time, and 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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Medicare 101

medicare101_poster

The Medicare enrollment period is coming up, and we want to help answer your questions.

On October 10th, 11th, and 17th, a member of my staff and a Medicare specialist from Indiana’s State Health Insurance Program (SHIP) will hold “Medicare 101” educational sessions throughout the 2nd District to answer questions about Medicare.

Medicare is a sacred commitment we have made to our seniors, and part of keeping that promise is ensuring Hoosiers have all the information they need to secure their benefits.

The “Medicare 101” events will take place in Elkhart, Goshen, La Porte, Plymouth, South Bend, and Wabash.

If you are at or near retirement or are a caregiver for a Medicare beneficiary and you want to learn more about the program, I encourage you to attend our “Medicare 101” educational sessions to learn the basics of Medicare and have your questions answered by experts.

Information about the “Medicare 101” sessions can be found below:

Tuesday, October 10th, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. ET
Wabash Public Library
Program Room
188 West Hill St.
Wabash, IN 46992

Tuesday, October 10th, 4:00 – 5:45 p.m. ET
Plymouth Public Library
Laramore Room A
201 North Center St.
Plymouth, IN 46563

Wednesday, October 11th, 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. ET
The Salvation Army Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center
900 W. Western Ave.
South Bend, IN 46601

Wednesday, October 11th, 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. ET (1:00 – 3:00 p.m. CT)
La Porte Park & Recreation
250 Pine Lake Ave.
La Porte, IN 46350

Tuesday, October 17th, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. ET
Elkhart Public Library
Rooms 5/6
300 S. Second St.
Elkhart, IN 46516

Tuesday, October 17th, 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. ET
Goshen Public Library
Auditorium
601 S. 5th St.
Goshen, IN 46526

Walorski Introduces Bill to Help Medicare Patients Pay Hospital Bills

Walorski Introduces Bill to Help Medicare Patients Pay Hospital Bills

Expands Use of Patient-Centered Financing Arrangements to Improve Seniors’ Access to Care, Reduce Medicare Bad Debt Claims

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) today introduced H.R. 3920, legislation to expand the use of interest-free payment arrangements in order to improve Medicare patients’ access to care and help ease the financial burden of costly hospital bills.

“Health care providers in northern Indiana have led the way in finding innovative solutions to keep patients healthy, both physically and financially,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “I’ve seen firsthand how interest-free payment plans like those offered at Elkhart General Hospital and Memorial Hospital of South Bend can ease financial burdens for patients. My bill will build on the success of these programs by helping us better understand their impact on access to care, health outcomes, and Medicare bad debt claims.”

BACKGROUND

Amid rising medical costs, seniors on fixed incomes too often forgo much-needed treatment over concerns about paying medical bills. Many hospitals are using innovative agreements with third-party financing companies to offer patients flexible, interest-free payment options. These payment arrangements give patients greater flexibility in paying their deductibles and coinsurance under Medicare Part A and help reduce claims for Medicare bad debt.

H.R. 3920 would require the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to implement a demonstration program on the use of these payment arrangements. The three-year demonstration program in five states would examine the impact of third-party interest-free payment arrangements on patient engagement, satisfaction, health outcomes, and claims for Medicare Part A bad debts.

Walorski in August 2015 visited Elkhart General Hospital, part of South Bend-based Beacon Health System, to learn how the hospital uses a patient-centered financing program through CarePayment to improve access to care.

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 Opioid Emergency Declaration

Walorski Statement on Opioid Emergency Declaration

President Trump Declares Opioid Epidemic a National Emergency

MISHAWAKA, Ind. – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) today released the following statement after President Trump declared a national emergency over the opioid crisis:

“Opioid abuse is having a devastating impact on our communities, and President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency treats this epidemic with the urgency it requires. I will continue working with my colleagues and the administration to make sure first responders, law enforcement, medical professionals, treatment providers, and families in our communities have the tools and resources needed to solve this crisis.”

BACKGROUND

Congress last year passed into law the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, bipartisan legislation to address the nationwide opioid epidemic. Congresswoman Walorski served on the conference committee that negotiated the final bill, which included two provisions she authored. One requires the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to participate in state prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs), and the other allows the VA to use FDA-approved medical devices and other non-opioid therapies to treat chronic pain.

Walorski recently questioned Medicare’s top fraud prevention official at a committee hearing about how safeguards failed to prevent a doctor in Indiana from prescribing more than $1 million in opioids to 108 patients under Medicare’s prescription drug program.

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

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In the News: Ripon Advance: Walorski bill would ensure air medical service availability, quality in rural areas

Walorski bill would ensure air medical service availability, quality in rural areas

Medicare reimbursement rates for air medical service providers would be updated to ensure rural areas have continued access to critical emergency services under bipartisan legislation that U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN) recently introduced.

Currently, ground and air ambulance service providers are among the only providers that do not report cost data to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and air ambulance reimbursement rates are far below the costs of providing the services.

To address the issue and ensure continued air ambulance service coverage, the Ensuring Access to Air Ambulance Services Act, H.R. 3378, would require providers to begin reporting cost data in 2019. Rates would be periodically increased through 2021, and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) would then determine reimbursement rates based on the two years of available cost data.

“In critical medical emergencies, the difference between life and death is often a matter of minutes, which is why air ambulance services save lives,” Walorski said. “Unfortunately, outdated Medicare reimbursement rates that don’t fully address the costs of air medical transport put these services at risk. This bipartisan bill ensures Hoosiers, especially those in rural areas, continue to have access to the air ambulances they depend on for emergency medical care.”

Read the full story here.

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