House Energy & Commerce Committee Advances over 20 Bills Addressing Healthcare, Illegal Robocalls, and More
Washington, D.C. –Today, Congressman G. K. Butterfield (NC-01) released the following statement after the House Energy and Commerce Committee voted to advance bills to reauthorize public health and Medicare programs, provide Medicaid funding for the U.S. Territories, and address surprise medical billing. The Committee also passed bipartisan legislation on stopping illegal robocalls, and more.
“Today, the Energy and Commerce Committee continued its commitment to working for the American people and advancing legislation to support quality healthcare and overall quality of life. I am especially proud of the Committee’s work to address the distressing issue of surprise medical bills. I was glad to support, H.R. 2328, the Reauthorizing and Extending America’s Community Health Act, or REACH Act, which included provisions that will protect patients from surprise medical bills. North Carolinians should not have to worry about receiving a very expensive bill because they received out-of-network care during an emergency or from an out-of-network provider at an in-network facility.
The bill also includes an amendment I sponsored that will help protect access to care for my constituents in eastern North Carolina by making sure the unique challenges faced by rural communities are considered as the law is implemented.
“I was also happy to see the Committee pass H.R. 776, the Emergency Medical Services for Children Program Reauthorization Act of 2019, a bill I helped introduce earlier this year. The EMSC program seeks to reduce child mortality and morbidity by providing support to states to improve pediatric emergency care.
“Protecting the American public from bad actors is a priority for the Energy and Commerce Committee and today we addressed the onslaught of illegal robocalls affecting so many of my constituents. By a vote of 48-0, the Committee passed H.R. 3375, the Stopping Bad Robocalls Act. The bill included provisions from a bill I introduced last month, H.R. 3434, the Tracing Back and Catching Unlawful Robocallers Act of 2019. Unlawful robocalls cannot be allowed to continue unchecked, and today we took a decisive step to identify these bad-actors and end this invasive practice.”
H.R. 2328, the “Reauthorizing and Extending America’s Community Health Act” or the “REACH Act,” would reauthorize and extend funding for community health centers through the Community Health Center Fund (CHC Fund), the National Health Service Corps (NHSC), the Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education Program, the Special Diabetes Program and the Special Diabetes Program for Indians, Family to Family Health Information Centers, the Personal Responsibility Education Program, the Sexual Risk Avoidance Program, and extensions of certain expiring Medicare programs. The bill also provides for 6 years of Medicaid funding for the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and America Samoa and 4 years of Medicaid funding for Puerto Rico. Finally, the bill includes the “No Surprises Act” which aims to protect Americans from surprise medical bills.
H.R. 776, the “Emergency Medical Services for Children Program Reauthorization Act of 2019,” would reauthorize the Emergency Medical Services for Children Program at $22.3 million dollars each year through FY 2024.
H.R. 3375, the “Stopping Bad Robocalls Act,” would require the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to adopt critical consumer protections, require all carriers, over time, to implement a new technology to make sure that caller-ID information is appropriately authenticated with no additional line item charge for consumers on their bill, allow the blocking of calls in a reasonable manner without an extra charge. The bill also includes Congressman Butterfield’s H.R. 3434, the Tracing Back and Catching Unlawful Robocallers Act of 2019. This portion of the bill would require the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to publish an annual report on the telecommunication industry’s efforts to trace suspected illegal robocalls to their origins and take enforcement actions against voice service providers who are not sufficiently participating in efforts to stop illegal calls.
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