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Public Statements

Issue Position: Health Care

Issue Position

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* Authored, with three colleagues, the Children's Health and Medicare Protection (CHAMP) Act, which would provide health care coverage to 10 million children; four million more than currently covered through the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Revised versions of this bill were sent to the President's desk twice, but he vetoed the legislation both times.

* Supported an emergency funding bill in 2007 that included $650 million for New Jersey's CHIP program, known as FamilyCare, so the program did not face shortfalls later in the year.

* Spearheaded an effort to ensure adequate funding for Community Health Centers and successfully secured $2 billion in Fiscal Year 2008. With this money, 1,200 new and expanded health centers were built, providing an additional 6 million people with access to health care. This effort is ongoing with the goal of securing an additional $248 million in Fiscal Year 2009, allowing for the further expansion of these vital health care centers.

* Authored legislation that was signed into law by the President that improves drug safety by improving FDA's ability to monitor the safety of drugs after they are on the market. The new law also increases the penalties for drug companies that violate safety standards and imposes stricter conflict-of-interest provisions.

* Successfully moved through subcommittee the Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which provides the FDA with the authority to appropriately regulate tobacco products and restrict tobacco product marketing.

* Conducted the first hearing ever in the Health Subcommittee on 9/11 health care issues to discuss medical monitoring and treatment of 9/11 health effects. Nearly one in five responders to the attacks on the World Trade Center experiences respiratory or gastrointestinal illnesses as a result of their exposure to toxins.

* Supported the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act, which promotes life-saving embryonic stem cell research by increasing the number of stem cell lines that are eligible to be used in federally-funded research.

* Introduced legislation to temporarily increase Medicaid assistance to states so that cash-strapped states, like New Jersey, can continue to provide health care assistance to its low-income residents. This bipartisan legislation comes at a time when state leaders are concerned their tax revenues will decline as a result of the economic slump.

* Introduced legislation reauthorizing the Indian Health Care Improvement Act so that Indian health clinics are properly staffed, structures are repaired and equipment is updated. This legislation passed through the subcommittee in 2007.

* Introduced legislation extending the Mental Health Parity Act of 1996 through the end of 2008. The Congressman championed this bill with U.S. Reps. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) and Jim Ramstad (R-MN). The legislation would require health care plans to treat mental health benefits and medical and surgical benefits equally. The House approved this bill in February 2008.


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