Health Care is an issue that affects every Utah family and business. It is central to Utahans' quality of life and to their financial well-being. I have championed a number of important health care-related bills during my time in Congress.
Health Care Reform
Rising health care costs are the single greatest threat to our pocketbooks, our economy and our long-term fiscal picture. I support fundamental reform that helps all American gain access to quality, affordable health care. Health care reform is morally and fiscally the right thing to do.
Two overarching concerns remain for me. One, the federal spending path we are currently on, is unsustainable. It is not tenable to add millions more into an already broken system. Two, we simply cannot afford to allow health care costs to grow more rapidly than the economy as a whole.
As the President has said, our health care problem is our deficit problem. I remain committed to ensuring that legislation is not only deficit neutral, but contains costs and is fiscally responsible over the long-term.
Health Care for Children
Caring for our children is always the right thing to do. A successful, bipartisan, federal-state collaboration--the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP)--has significantly improved our nation's health coverage. Because of SCHIP the rate of uninsured children in America was reduced by 33 percent between 1997 and 2005.
I supported the reauthorization and expansion of SCHIP in 2009. That resulted in more Utah children being covered. These are the children of the working poor: parents who work but either are not offered or cannot afford health insurance. The SCHIP renewal also resulted in federal grants to Utah local governments, Indian tribes, faith-based organizations, and community-based nonprofits to identify ways to locate and help enroll eligible Utah children.
Emergency Medical Services for Children
In March 2009, the House passed my bill to continue a unique federal program credited with saving children's lives by improving emergency medical services. Funding from EMSC helps health care providers, first responders and hospitals to be ready to meet children's unique needs. This specialized training has been shown to save lives and dramatically improve outcomes for the most seriously injured infants and children.
Since its inception in 1984, this program has provided seed money to every state and US territory and it has helped improve training for many rural emergency medical workers and volunteers who make life and death decisions far from urban trauma centers.
Fighting "Super bugs'
Health providers say that drug-resistant bacteria such as staphylococcus (staph) are a growing health crisis in this country, as more patients are contracting--and sometimes dying from--these so called "superbugs."
I have introduced legislation proposing a coordinated strategy to address this threat of drug-resistant microbes. In Utah, the number of children being seen with aggressive infections has increased nearly 20-fold since 1989. Working with Utah doctors and hospitals, I have proposed common sense steps aimed at improving antibiotic development and collecting vital data to use for research.
Everyone has been touched by cancer. Though the national incidence rate of breast cancer among women is much higher than Utah's, Utah's mortality rate is the same because a higher percentage of Utah women are diagnosed in the cancer's later states. If breast cancer is caught early, survival is much more likely.
I have supported several bills that would improve breast cancer education and awareness, as well as continue funding to the Utah Health Department which is then able to offer free breast and cervical cancer screening to Utah women that live in low-income households