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Hearing of the Health Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee - Health Care Legislation


Location: Washington, DC

would like to thank my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for being here for our Subcommittee's first markup of the 111th Congress.
Today, the Subcommittee will consider four bills.

First, we will mark up the Protect Life Act, which in short, would amend the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to continue the historical practice of prohibiting federal funds from being used on abortion services. The bill would also prevent government entities funded by the Affordable Care Act from discriminating against health care providers and professionals that do not participate in abortion. Further, the bill would allow individuals to purchase a separate abortion plan with private funds, and allow health insurance providers to offer separate plans for abortion coverage, so long as they don't use federal funds to do so.

This bill was summarized by the Democrat's witness from Wednesday's hearing as bringing "health reform into line with what originally was Stupak-Pitts." Unfortunately, the Stupak-Pitts provision was not included in final passage, and so this will seek to amend health care reform by statutorily putting into law what was overwhelmingly supported in this body and is supported by 60 to 70 percent of the American people.

The Subcommittee will also consider three other bills. Dr. Burgess' Dental Emergency Responders Act, Representative Hank Johnson's Neglected Infections of Impoverished Americans Act, and Representative Baldwin's Veterinary Public Health Amendments Act.

The Dental Emergency Responders Act would allow, but not require, the Secretary of Health and Human Services Homeland Security to incorporate dentists and dental facilities into its disaster response planning. Currently, the National Health Security Strategy does not include dentists and dental facilities as part of the response plan. This bill would allow dentists to serve as a resource during a time of disaster.

Next, the Neglected Infections of Impoverished Americans Act requires HHS to conduct a study and report to Congress on six neglected parasitic diseases that are believed to be related to poverty.

And, finally, the Veterinary Public Health Amendments Act allows those going into the field of veterinary public health to be eligible for an existing loan repayment program under the Public Health Service Act.

These are non-controversial bills. In the 111th Congress, we reported them out of this Committee, and all three passed the House by voice vote. I would like to thank Ranking Member Pallone, his staff, and the authors of the bills for working with us to bring these bills before the Committee today.

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