Issue: Health Care

Walorski Applauds Bipartisan Agreement to End Surprise Billing

Walorski Applauds Bipartisan Agreement to End Surprise Billing

Legislation Would Protect Patients from Surprise Medical Bills, Create Fair Dispute Resolution Process for Providers and Insurers

MISHAWAKA, Ind. – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) today released the following statement after House and Senate committee leaders reached a bipartisan agreement Friday on legislation to protect patients from surprise medical bills:

“Americans should be able to get the health care they need without facing financially devastating surprise medical bills. This bipartisan agreement will protect patients and their families, establish a process that keeps them out of billing disputes between providers and insurers, and ensure continued access to lifesaving emergency services such as air ambulances.

“I’m pleased our committees worked across the aisle to reach an agreement based on delivering commonsense solutions for the American people. Congress should quickly send this bill to the president’s desk so hardworking Americans who do everything right in both emergency and non-emergency situations never again find a costly, unexpected medical bill in their mailbox.”

BACKGROUND

Leaders of several House and Senate committees, including the House Ways and Means Committee on which Walorski serves, reached an agreement on legislation to protect patients from unexpected medical bills from out-of-network providers and establish a fair process to resolve payment disputes between insurers and health care providers.

The legislative package also includes a long-term extension of expiring public health programs, including Community Health Centers, National Health Service Corps, Teaching Health Centers, and Special Diabetes Programs.

The bipartisan, bicameral legislation would:

  • Hold patients harmless from surprise medical bills, including from air ambulance providers, by ensuring they are only responsible for their in-network cost-sharing amounts, including deductibles, in both emergency situations and certain non-emergency situations where patients do not have the ability to choose an in-network provider.
  • Prohibit certain out-of-network providers from balance billing patients unless the provider gives the patient notice of their network status and an estimate of charges 72 hours prior to receiving out-of-network services and the patient provides consent to receive out-of-network care.
  • Create a framework that takes patients out of the middle, and allows health care providers and insurers to resolve payment disputes without involving the patient.
    • Under the agreement, insurers will make a payment to the provider that is determined either through negotiation between the parties or an independent dispute resolution (IDR) process. There is no minimum payment threshold to enter IDR, and claims may be batched together to ease administrative burdens.
    • If the parties choose to utilize the IDR process, both parties would each submit an offer to the independent arbiter. When choosing between the two offers the arbiter is required to consider the median in-network rate, information related to the training and experience of the provider, the market share of the parties, previous contracting history between the parties, complexity of the services provided, and any other information submitted by the parties.
    • Following an IDR process, the party that initiated the dispute may not take the same party to arbitration for the same item or service for 90-days following a determination by the arbitrator. However, all claims that occur during the 90-day period are eligible for IDR after the 90-days.
  • Provide additional consumer protections when insurance companies change networks, including a transition of care for people with complex care needs and appeal rights for consumers
  • Empowers consumers by providing a true and honest cost estimate that describes which providers will deliver their treatment, the cost of services, and provider network status.

Text of the legislative is available here. Additional information is available here.

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 Walorski Bill to Protect Seniors from Medicare Penalties, Coverage Gaps

House Passes Walorski Bill to Protect Seniors from Medicare Penalties, Coverage Gaps

Bipartisan BENES Act Will Simplify Medicare Enrollment Process, Help Beneficiaries Avoid Costly Lifetime Penalties

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) today applauded House passage of her bipartisan legislation to simplify the Medicare enrollment process and protect seniors from lifetime late-enrollment penalties and coverage gaps.

“As more and more Americans reach Medicare age, it’s clear the enrollment process is overly complex, with simple mistakes resulting in costly penalties,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “We need to simplify the process and improve education to ensure seniors have access to the quality, affordable health care they deserve. These commonsense reforms will protect Medicare beneficiaries from unnecessary late-enrollment penalties, gaps in coverage, and unexpected health care bills. I’m grateful to have worked across the aisle to pass this bipartisan bill, and I hope it reaches the president’s desk soon.”

Video of Walorski speaking on the House floor in support of the legislation is available here.

Last year, Walorski introduced the bipartisan, bicameral Beneficiary Enrollment Notification and Eligibility Simplification (BENES) Act (H.R. 2477) with U.S. Rep. Raul Ruiz, M.D. (D-Calif.), and U.S. Senators Todd Young (R-Ind.) and Bob Casey (D-Pa.). The BENES Act passed the House on Tuesday by unanimous voice vote.

BACKGROUND

Seniors who miss deadlines to enroll in Medicare face lifetime late-enrollment penalties of 10 percent for every year they are not enrolled in Part B. According to the Congressional Research Service, approximately 764,000 Americans are currently paying these late-enrollment penalties, increasing their Medicare Part B premiums by an average of nearly 30 percent.

The BENES Act would ensure Americans approaching Medicare eligibility receive advance notice about basic Medicare enrollment rules. It would also eliminate needless multi-month coverage gaps in Medicare enrollment periods by requiring that Part B coverage begin during the first month after an individual enrolls, through either the initial enrollment period or general enrollment period.

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


Medicare 101 Virtual Session

The annual Medicare open enrollment period is coming up – from October 15th to December 7th – and we want to help answer your questions.

On Tuesday, October 6th, a member of my staff and a Medicare specialist from Indiana’s State Health Insurance Program (SHIP) held a virtual “Medicare 101” educational session to help Hoosiers across the 2nd District better understand Medicare enrollment and to answer questions.

If you were unable to attend the virtual “Medicare 101” session, you can watch the video on Facebook or YouTube. If you have additional questions or need assistance, please fill out the form below.

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. 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 hope this virtual “Medicare 101” educational session is both informational and helpful.


Ask a Medicare Question


 


Handouts & Additional Resources

 


 

Walorski Sponsors Legislation to Pilot Medically Tailored Meals

Walorski Sponsors Legislation to Pilot Medically Tailored Meals

Bipartisan Bill Would Establish Medicare Pilot Program to Address Link Between Diet, Chronic Illness, and Senior Health

MISHAWAKA, Ind. – U.S. Reps. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.), Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), and Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) today announced the introduction of H.R. 6774, the Medically Tailored Home-Delivered Meals Demonstration Pilot Act of 2020, a new bill that would establish a Medicare pilot program to address the critical link between diet, chronic illness, and senior health.

The bipartisan bill would help ensure nutritious meals reach medically vulnerable seniors in their homes, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, while at the same time providing the data needed to build a more resilient and cost-effective health care system.

“Good nutrition can play a key role in improving health, especially for those living with a chronic illness,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “Getting nutritious, medically tailored meals to vulnerable seniors in their homes would not only lead to better health outcomes but also reduce health care costs in the long-term. This innovative, commonsense solution would strengthen Medicare and help older Americans thrive – especially in these challenging times.”

“There is no doubt that what we eat plays a huge role in our overall health, yet our federal policies are decades behind the science on this. We prioritize treatment instead of prevention by relying on costly hospital visits and expensive prescription drugs instead of addressing the underlying issues that lead to chronic conditions,” said Congressman Jim McGovern. “Our bill hopes to show that by providing medically tailored meals to vulnerable seniors, we can lower hospital admissions, improve outcomes, and save money. It’s time to transform America’s sick-care system into a health-care system, and I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support this important bipartisan bill.”

“As a physician for more than 25 years, I saw the importance of nutrition on the well-being of my patients,” said U.S. Congressman Roger Marshall, M.D. “Clinical evidence continues to suggest that malnutrition of protein and essential micronutrients can increase a person’s susceptibility to infections and other negative health outcomes. Several studies have shown nutrition to play a role in interrupting transmission, reducing susceptibility, and decreasing the severity of the disease symptoms. Our bill aims to provide powerful insight on how medically tailored meals can positively impact the health of seniors and produce cost savings.”

“Medically-tailored meals rely on the simple principle that access to nutritious food is foundational to good health. We’ve long understood the improved outcomes and potential savings associated with preparing healthy meals for vulnerable people. Now, when seniors and those with serious conditions are at the highest risk for contracting COVID-19, it’s more important than ever to invest in their health. As the cofounder of the bipartisan Food is Medicine Working Group with Rep. McGovern, I’m proud to be an original cosponsor of the Medically Tailored Home-Delivered Meals Demonstration Pilot Act, which would pilot the delivery of nutritious, medically-tailored meals to Medicare recipients,” said Congresswoman Chellie Pingree.

BACKGROUND

As of 2016, 62 percent of U.S. adults over the age of 65 were living with one or more chronic conditions. A poor diet contributes to COVID risks, especially for those with underlying chronic health conditions, and a growing body of research demonstrates that medically tailored meals can be a cost-effective strategy for improving health outcomes. These meals are designed by a registered dietitian or other nutrition professional and delivered to an individual living with diet-affected disease like diabetes and congestive heart failure. When included in treatment plans for individuals with complex health conditions, these meals have been shown to reduce overall health care costs by 16 percent while significantly reducing the need for hospitalizations, emergency department use, and emergency transports.

Medicare Parts A and B – covering two-thirds of Medicare enrollees – provide no coverage for medically tailored meals. This bill would take an important first step towards filling this gap by directing the Secretary of Health and Human Services to conduct a three-year demonstration pilot program to provide medically tailored meals to some of our nation’s most vulnerable Medicare enrollees. Under the demonstration, recently hospitalized Medicare enrollees with conditions such as congestive heart failure, diabetes, COPD, and kidney disease would receive a medically tailored meal intervention. This bill would provide at least two home-delivered meals per day to the qualified individual as well as any dependents under the age of 18 who reside in the household.

This pilot is separate from but could involve programs like Meals on Wheels that provide nutritious, prepared, ready-to-eat, home-delivered meals for seniors who are homebound and in great economic and medical need. Medically tailored meals would be delivered to individuals living with severe illness through a referral from a medical professional or healthcare plan.

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

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Walorski Supports Immediate Economic Relief for Workers, Families, and Small Businesses

Walorski Supports Immediate Economic Relief for Workers, Families, and Small Businesses

President Signs Bipartisan Legislation That Includes Direct Cash Assistance, Expanded Unemployment Insurance, Forgivable Small Business Loans

MISHAWAKA, Ind. – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) today released the following statement on her support for the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which passed the House by voice vote and was signed by President Trump:

“We are fighting against an invisible enemy, and together we will defeat it.

“Coronavirus and the steps necessary to stop it are having a devastating impact on our economy, and many of our friends and neighbors are suddenly facing hardship and uncertainty. Today, Congress took action to provide immediate relief to families, workers, and small businesses so they can get through this crisis and be even stronger when it’s over.

“The bipartisan CARES Act will provide every American, except the highest earners, with $1,200 per adult and $500 per child. It will make loans available to small businesses and non-profits to maintain payroll and cover expenses like rent – and these loans will be forgiven as long as employees keep their jobs. For workers who are laid off, the bill will temporarily expand unemployment insurance – including making it available to independent contractors and self-employed individuals. And it will provide critical resources for our nation’s hospitals, health care workers, and state and local response efforts so they can keep fighting coronavirus and keep our communities safe.”

Walorski released a video statement following House passage of the bill. The video is available here.


The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act


Relief for Workers and Families

  • Immediate Relief for American Families – American workers and families will receive a one-time check or direct deposit of $1,200 per individual or $2,400 per couple, plus $500 per eligible child. These payments will be reduced for higher earners starting at $75,000 for individuals and $150,000 for married couples. They phase out completely at $99,000 for individuals and $198,000 for married couples. Anyone with a valid Social Security number is eligible.
  • Expanded Unemployment Insurance – The CARES Act includes $250 billion to temporarily expand unemployment benefits through the end of the year. It makes self-employed individuals, independent contractors, and others eligible for unemployment during the public health emergency. It also provides an additional 13 weeks of unemployment benefits beyond what states typically allow, and it adds $600 per week across the board for each recipient for four months from through the end of July.

Assistance for Small Businesses

  • Paycheck Protection Program – The CARES Act provides $350 billion for forgivable loans to keep small businesses from going under and prevent workers from losing their jobs. These federally guaranteed loans will be available to small employers through private lenders to provide eight weeks of cash flow assistance to maintain payroll and pay rent. Independent contractors, self-employed individuals, and 501(c)3s are also eligible. If the employer maintains their payroll, the portion of the loans used for covered payroll costs, interest on mortgage obligations, rent, and utilities would be forgiven. There is also flexibility to rehire workers who have already been laid off.
  • Employee Retention Tax Credit – The Employee Retention Credit provides a refundable payroll tax credit equal to 50 percent of up to $10,000 in wages per employee (including health benefits) paid by certain employers during the coronavirus crisis.
  • Additional Main Street Assistance – SBA will pay all principal, interest and fees on all existing SBA loan products including 7(a), Community Advantage, 504, and Microloan programs for six months. The bill provides grants and funding to offer training, counseling, and assistance to small businesses affected by COVID-19. It provides $10 billion to expedite access to capital for small businesses that have applied for an SBA Emergency Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) grant. And it includes a tax reform technical correction to ensure businesses like restaurants can take advantage of full and immediate expensing for investments in improvements.

Industry Assistance to Stabilize Economy

  • Economic Stabilization – The CARES Act Provides more than $500 billion of emergency relief in the form of direct loans, loan guarantees, and tax relief to those industries hit hardest by COVID-19. These loans are to be used to keep these job creators in business so they can keep workers on the payroll. In order to protect taxpayers, there are restrictions on executive compensation, stock buybacks are prohibited for the duration of the loan, and borrowers must maintain existing payroll.

Resources to Fight Coronavirus

  • Support for Health Care Providers – The CARES Act gets more resources to health care providers quickly and expands access to care for patients. It increases Medicare reimbursement rate, including an add-on payment to hospitals for treating COVID-19 patients, and allows for accelerated payments.
  • Resources for Local and State Response – The bill provides $340 billion in funding to combat the pandemic, including $150 billion for state and local governments.
  • Supplies for Health Care Workers – It provides $16 billion for personal protective equipment, ventilators, and other supplies to be distributed to the states. It expands testing capabilities by allowing the Strategic National Stockpile to purchase swabs necessary for test kits.
  • Access Care for Patients – It boosts funding for research into new treatments and vaccines and allows the FDA to quickly approve the use of new medications. It facilitates the use of new and innovative telemedicine technology. And it allows HSAs to be used to purchase over-the-counter medicines.

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

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Walorski on Medicare for All: “If You Like Your Plan – Too Bad, It’s Gone”

Walorski on Medicare for All: “If You Like Your Plan – Too Bad, It’s Gone”

Asks HHS Sec. Azar About Impact of Outlawing Private Health Insurance, Forcing Americans into One-Size-Fits-All Government Program

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) today criticized Democrats’ Medicare for All proposal that would eliminate private health insurance plans, including employer-sponsored coverage and Medicare Advantage, and replace it with a massive, taxpayer-funded government program.

“Ten years ago, Democrats rammed Obamacare through the Congress based on the slogan, ‘If you like your plan, you can keep it,’” Congresswoman Walorski said. “That slogan, of course, turned out to be a lie. Fast forward to today, and a majority of House Democrats have cosponsored the Medicare for All Act, which would outlaw virtually all private health insurance coverage and force every American into a one-size-fits-all government plan. So in just ten years, we went from, ‘If you like your plan, you can keep it,’ to ‘If you like your plan – too bad, it’s gone.’ What a difference a decade makes.”

Walorski asked Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alexander Azar, who testified before the Ways and Means Committee, to outline the impact Medicare for All would have on America’s working families and seniors.

“It would be absolutely devastating,” Secretary Azar said. “We’ve got 180 million Americans who get their insurance through their employer or their union. Their insurance would be taken away. Collective bargaining rights that they have given up in exchange for insurance would be taken away without compensation in wages. There are 60 million seniors in Medicare. A third of them depend on private insurance, Medicare Advantage, the ever more popular private option with added often dental, vision benefits, and pharmacy benefits for them, would be taken away as part of this. It would be devastating for America’s seniors.”

Walorski also asked Azar about initiatives to improve maternal health and decrease rates of maternal mortality, as well as the need to strengthen Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).

Video of Congresswoman Walorski discussing Medicare for All and questioning Secretary Azar is available here.

Video of Congresswoman Walorski asking Secretary Azar about maternal health and TANF is available here.

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

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Walorski Supports Bipartisan Protections from Surprise Medical Bills

Walorski Supports Bipartisan Protections from Surprise Medical Bills

Ways & Means Committee Approves Consumer Protections Against Surprise Medical Bills Act

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) today supported committee approval of the Consumer Protections Against Surprise Medical Bills Act (H.R. 5826), bipartisan legislation to protect patients from facing unexpected health care bills from out-of-network providers.

“Too many Hoosier and American families have been hit with these unexpected costly medical bills in some of their most stressful times of need,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “Our approach protects families from these unexpected medical costs by establishing a process that keeps patients out of billing disputes between providers and insurers. It is outrageous and unacceptable when hardworking Americans do everything right in both emergency and non-emergency situations and still find a financially devastating medical bill in their mailbox.”

In the Ways and Means Committee markup of the legislation, Walorski shared the stories of two Hoosiers who received care at in-network facilities but received unexpected bills from out-of-network providers through no fault of their own.

Video of Walorski’s comments can be found here.

BACKGROUND

The Ways and Means Committee approved H.R. 5826 by voice vote. The Consumer Protections Against Surprise Medical Bills Act would:

  • Protect patients from surprise medical bills for out-of-network services by prohibiting balance billing;
  • Require an advance explanation of benefits for non-emergency care that informs patients which providers will deliver treatment, the cost of these services, and provider network status; and
    Create a streamlined arbitration process for providers and insurers if they are unable to resolve a billing dispute.

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 President Trump’s State of the Union Address

Walorski Statement on President Trump’s State of the Union Address

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) today released the following statement on President Trump’s State of the Union Address:

“President Trump delivered an optimistic message about our country’s future and renewed his commitment to preserving and strengthening the American Dream.

“Our economy is booming, with more jobs and higher wages for hardworking Americans and new opportunities for our farmers, manufacturers, and small businesses. I stand ready to work with the president to continue building on that momentum and ensure working families have every opportunity to thrive, including by expanding access to paid family leave.

“President Trump has been steadfast as commander-in-chief in the face of national security threats from terrorists and rogue regimes, and his leadership in rebuilding our military has made our country safer. I look forward to continuing our work together to strengthen our national security, support our servicemembers, and ensure our veterans get the care and services they earned.

“The president’s agenda is one that puts the American people first and keeps our country on the path to a better, stronger, and more prosperous future. It’s time for Congress to put divisiveness and partisanship aside so we can make this bold vision a reality.”

BACKGROUND

Republicans in Congress and President Trump have worked together to achieve key victories for the American people, including:

  • Setting the stage for the strongest economy and job market in decades through historic tax cuts for working families and small businesses;
  • Passing USMCA, a historic deal to modernize North American trade and level the
  • playing field for American workers, farmers, and manufacturers;
  • Continuing the rebuilding of our military and giving servicemembers their biggest pay raise in a decade;
  • Repealing Obamacare taxes that were driving up the cost of health care, including the job-killing medical device tax and the burdensome health insurance tax;
  • Overhauling the IRS to hold its leaders accountable, modernize its IT systems, and put service to taxpayers first; and
  • Providing states the resources and flexibility needed to transform the nation’s foster care systems and put families first.

Congresswoman Walorski is committed to continuing to work with President Trump to find commonsense solutions for Hoosiers, including:

  • Helping working families thrive by passing pro-worker, pro-family legislation to expand paid family leave benefits without raising taxes or imposing inflexible mandates;
  • Investing in our nation’s infrastructure through innovative, cost-effective financing mechanisms;
  • Lowering the cost of health care and prescription drugs while expanding patient choice and supporting innovative research to find new cures;
  • Standing up for the sanctity of life and defending the unborn, including by passing the Dignity for Aborted Children Act; and
  • Ensuring our brave veterans get the care, benefits, and services they earned.

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 to Increase Access to Physical Therapy Treatment in Rural Areas

Walorski Introduces Bipartisan Legislation to Increase Access to Physical Therapy Treatment in Rural Areas

Bill Would Expand Access to Pain Management Treatment at Community Health Centers and Federally Qualified Health Centers

WASHINGTON – U.S. Reps. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) and Ron Kind (D-Wis.) this week introduced bipartisan legislation to increase access to physical therapy services at Community Health Centers (CHCs), which provide primary health services to more than 28 million people in more than 11,000 rural and urban communities nationwide.

The Primary Health Services Enhancement Act would eliminate restrictive and burdensome requirements that currently make it difficult for CHCs to provide physical therapy services. This legislation would improve access to alternative pain management treatments for patients in medically underserved areas.

“Physical therapy has proven to be a critical tool for patients to manage chronic pain and recover from injury, and it plays a major role in non-opioid alternative treatment plans,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “But far too often patients in rural and underserved communities face unnecessary barriers that prevent them from getting the treatment they need from community health centers. The bipartisan Primary Health Services Enhancement Act will give Hoosiers an affordable and convenient option to improve their quality of life and find innovative ways to treat pain.”

“Community Health Centers (CHCs) provide a lifeline to communities in Wisconsin that wouldn’t otherwise have access to essential health services close by. At CHCs, patients can receive care from physicians, nurses, and dentists, receive emergency medical help, and seek behavioral health services–they should be able to receive physical therapy without having to jump through extra hoops,” Congressman Kind said. “The Primary Health Services Enhancement Act will eliminate barriers and restrictions for services provided by physical therapists and create greater access to pain management alternatives.”

This legislation is supported by the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC), the National Association of Rural Health Clinics (NARHC), and the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA).

Read the bill text here.

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

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Walorski Secures Permanent Repeal of Job-Killing Medical Device Tax

Walorski Secures Permanent Repeal of Job-Killing Medical Device Tax

Year-End Funding Agreement Also Boosts Defense Funding, Gives Troops Biggest Pay Raise in a Decade, Repeals Other Costly Obamacare Taxes

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) today applauded House passage of a year-end funding agreement that includes her bipartisan bill to permanently repeal the job-killing medical device tax. The legislative package also ends two other costly Obamacare taxes, boosts funding for our military, and gives servicemembers their biggest pay raise in a decade.

“After years of fighting Speaker Pelosi and special interests, today we’ve secured a major victory for Hoosier workers and patients across the country: permanent repeal of Obamacare’s job-killing medical device tax,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “Ending this destructive tax once and for all will protect manufacturing jobs in northern Indiana, boost research and innovation of medical technologies, and ensure patients continue to have access to the cutting-edge products they need.

“We’re also repealing two other costly Obamacare taxes that threatened to raise the cost of health care – the health insurance tax and the Cadillac tax. We’re ensuring states have the resources they need to transform their foster care systems and put families first. And we’re providing certainty and tax relief to American farmers and small businesses by extending the biodiesel tax credit and the short line railroad tax credit.

“Finally, this bill puts America’s national security first by providing the resources needed to continue the rebuilding of our military. It supports our servicemembers, veterans, and their families by providing a 3.1 percent pay raise for our troops – the largest in a decade – and fully funding the VA MISSION Act and Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act. And it will help secure the border by providing $1.375 billion in new funding for the border wall and maintaining the president’s authority to transfer funds if necessary.

“While this legislation is not perfect – it is clearer than ever that both parties need to come together to implement long-term spending reforms in order to get our national debt under control – it will protect Hoosier jobs, keep our nation’s economic momentum going, and prioritize the safety and security of the American people. This is a win for Hoosier manufacturers, farmers, workers, and families.”

BACKGROUND

Congresswoman Walorski has long fought to repeal the medical device tax, which cost tens of thousands of jobs when it was in effect from 2013 to 2017, particularly in northern Indiana. Walorski’s legislation to fully and permanently repeal the tax – the Protect Medical Innovation Act (H.R. 2207) – had more than 250 bipartisan co-sponsors, but Speaker Pelosi and House Democratic leadership repeatedly blocked a vote on the House floor this year. The 2.3 percent excise tax on lifesaving medical devices was set to return January 1, 2020, if Congress did not act. Repeal of the medical device tax will protect good-paying manufacturing jobs, encourage medical research and innovation, and ensure patients continue to have access to the lifesaving products they need.

The year-end legislative package also repeals two other damaging Obamacare taxes: the health insurance tax and the “Cadillac tax,” both of which threatened to raise health care costs for millions of Americans by health insurance plans more expensive.

In addition to providing critical tax relief, the legislation provides federal funding for the remainder of fiscal year 2020, including several key priorities for Hoosiers:

  • Prioritizes national security and continues rebuilding of our military with a $22 billion increase in defense funding;
  • Supports servicemembers and military families, including by providing a 3.1 percent pay raise for our troops – the largest in a decade;
  • Supports the U.S.-Israel alliance by providing $500 million for Israeli Cooperative programs, including Iron Dome;
  • Provides full funding for the VA MISSION Act and Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act;
  • Provides $1.375 billion in new funding for the border wall and does not restrict the president’s authority to transfer additional funds;
  • Includes Walorski’s bipartisan Family First Transition Act to provide states with the tools and resources to transform their child welfare systems and keep more children safely at home instead of placing them in foster care;
  • Advances efforts to combat opioid abuse through prevention, treatment, recovery, and law enforcement by investing $518 million in grant programs;
  • Includes the SECURE Act to make it easier for small businesses to set up retirement plans for employees and help workers save more and earlier for retirement;
  • Includes the CREATES Act to promote competition to lower the cost of prescription drugs by ensuring affordable generic and biosimilar versions of medications can enter the market;
  • Includes $1.2 billion in disaster relief for farmers and ranchers affected by severe weather and other natural disasters in 2018 and 2019;
  • Supports Hoosier soybean farmers and boosts clean energy innovation by extending the biodiesel tax credit;
  • Helps short line railroads keep rural Indiana connected to the national economy by extending the short line tax credit;
  • Maintains all pro-life protections; and
  • Retains long-standing Second Amendment protections.

The House passed H.R. 1158, which included defense and national security funding, by a vote of 297 to 120. The House passed H.R. 1865, which included repeal of Obamacare taxes, by a vote of 280 to 138. Both bills now head to the Senate.

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

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