Issue: Health Care

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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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.

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