Oct 05, 2017 / Health Care

Eastern Washington Wins as McMorris Rodgers Ushers Health Reforms Through Committee

WASHINGTON, D.C. (October 5, 2017) – Yesterday, Eastern Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) joined the House Energy and Commerce (E&C) Committee for a markup of several important health care bills including the reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), the Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education (THCGME) program, and the Steve Gleason Enduring Voices Act. All three of these initiatives will bring great benefits to people in Eastern Washington, and each passed the Energy and Commerce Committee yesterday with the Congresswoman’s support.

CHIP Reauthorization:

The Children’s Health Insurance Program’s authorization expired on September 30. Despite that, states still have funding for the program through the end of the year. Yesterday, the reauthorization of the program passed the E&C Committee with only Republican support. At yesterday’s hearing, Rep. McMorris Rodgers offered remarks on the program. She said, “The HEALTHY KIDS Act provides long-term certainty to the parents of more than 1 million kids in Washington state on CHIP, ensuring that their kids will have access to comprehensive, low-cost health care services.”

Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education Program:

In July, the Congresswoman introduced the Training the Next Generation of Primary Care Doctors Act of 2017 to provide a long-term reauthorization of the THCGME program. This bipartisan effort, also spearheaded by Rep. Niki Tsongas (D-MA) and Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA) passed the E&C Committee yesterday as part of the Community Health and Medical Professionals Improve Our Nation (CHAMPION) Act of 2017.

“Bringing more physicians to Eastern Washington is one of my top priorities,” said McMorris Rodgers. “Our rural and urban underserved communities struggle to access the medical professionals they need and Teaching Health Center programs like the Spokane Teaching Health Clinic will help create a new generation of rural doctors—trained right here in our community.”

Washington State University has played a major role in the development of the Spokane Teaching Health Clinic. New WSU Spokane Chancellor Daryll B. DeWald had this to say about the passage of the CHAMPION Act:

“Washington State University made an early and strong commitment to the Spokane Teaching Health Center when the institution provided funds for the design and construction of the center aimed at tackling the physician shortage by increasing residency opportunities in central and eastern Washington. We are grateful for the leadership of Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers in increasing resident slots as a way to ensure physicians stay in the region once they complete their medical education and moving this bill through committee. WSU looks forward to working with her to ensure the proposal gets across the finish line.”

Steve Gleason Enduring Voices Act:

In May, the Congresswoman also introduced the Steve Gleason Enduring Voices Act which builds upon the successes of her Steve Gleason Act, which was signed into law in July 2015. The bill permanently fixes the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) policy that limited access to speech generating devices for people with degenerative diseases. Yesterday, this legislation passed the E&C Committee, moving one step closer to becoming law.

Last week, Team Gleason released the following video in support of the Congresswoman’s Steve Gleason Enduring Voices Act:

All of these initiatives will continue through the legislative process, moving closer and closer to becoming law.

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