Wilson Earns Seat on Health Subcommittee
Rep. Heather Wilson today welcomed subcommittee assignments on the Energy and Commerce Committee and says she's positioned to continue working on children's health care issues. Wilson also says she'll have a direct role on other health care issues like doctor reimbursement formulas under Medicare, Medicaid reform, and Indian health care.
Committee members approved the revised subcommittee assignments for the 110th Congress by voice vote at a full committee business meeting this morning. Wilson will serve on three different subcommittees: Health; Telecommunications and the Internet; and Environment and Hazardous Materials.
Wilson returns to the Health Subcommittee after serving there during the 107th and 108th Congresses. Wilson is now fourth in seniority on this important committee, and is in a position to significantly influence legislation to improve the availability and affordability of health care in New Mexico. The subcommittee has jurisdiction over Medicare, Medicaid, the State Children's Health Insurance Program, the Food and Drug Administration, the health insurance industry, long-term care, Native American health, and other public health matters.
This year the Health Subcommittee will consider reauthorization of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), which provides health coverage nationally to 6 million children whose parents have income too high to qualify for Medicaid but too little to afford private health insurance. The program provides health coverage to more than 19,000 kids in New Mexico.
Wilson and Rep. Marion Berry (D-AR) are leading a bipartisan effort by centrist Members to reauthorize the SCHIP program and fully fund it to cover all eligible children.
"The Health Subcommittee is a good spot for my work to improve health coverage for children in New Mexico," says Wilson. "We need to enroll more eligible children in our state, improve continuity of coverage between SCHIP and private coverage, and help New Mexico keep more funds for children on Medicaid that we would otherwise lose."
Wilson recently announced she will introduce legislation to allow New Mexico and ten other states to keep 20% of their unused SCHIP funds for low-income children in Medicaid. This policy recognizes expansions states made in their Medicaid programs before SCHIP was created in 1997, correcting an inequity. Congress has periodically enacted this policy, but Wilson's provision would make it permanent. New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson and 17 other governors asked for this provision to be made permanent in a letter sent yesterday to Congress.
Today, Wilson participated in a hearing on the SCHIP program in the Health Subcommittee.
The Health Subcommittee will also consider revising the physician payment formula in Medicare, reauthorizing the Indian Health Service, and making changes to the Food and Drug Administration drug approval process this year.