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Ranking Member Cassidy Delivers Remarks During Committee Markup of Public Health Bills

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, delivered remarks during today’s markup of several public health bills.

Click here to watch the executive session live. 

Cassidy’s speech as prepared for delivery can be found below:

Thank you, Chair Sanders.

Today, the Committee considers reauthorizing multiple expiring public health programs that help doctors, states, and communities understand and address Americans’ health care needs.

It is our responsibility to fully evaluate and improve programs, so they work properly for those they serve and effectively use tax dollars. While Congress can continue to fund expired programs, failure to reauthorize misses an opportunity to improve. If programs do not work or meet full potential, we must address.

These reauthorizations have been achieved in a bipartisan manner. I appreciate my colleagues’ work in getting them done. I look forward to future bipartisan markups.

Today, the Committee examines Senators Young and Kaine’s Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Reauthorization Act, reauthorizing a program that helps nurses, physicians, and other health care workers access mental health and substance use services. As a doctor, I know the immense strain and burnout health care professionals can experience while providing lifesaving care. I helped lead the original legislation enacted in 2022. Proud this reauthorization ensures continued access to needed care.

Senators Budd and Casey’s Emergency Medical Services for Children Reauthorization Act of 2024 extends grant programs helping emergency medical services care for children. Children have different medical needs than adults, and providers must be equipped for these differences.

The Poison Control Centers Reauthorization Act of 2024, led by Senators Tuberville, Murray, Romney, and Lujan, reauthorizes the Poison Control Centers Programs. These programs support enhancement and improvement of poison control hotlines and other poison education and prevention efforts.

The Building Our Largest Dementia (BOLD) Infrastructure for Alzheimer's Reauthorization Act of 2024 extends programs improving education and detection of Alzheimer's and other types of dementia. This effort is led by Senators Collins, Cortez Masto, Capito, and Kaine.

Senators Collins and Baldwin’s Lifespan Respite Care Reauthorization Act of 2024, reauthorizes the Lifespan Respite Care program, which helps communities provide a little bit of time off for family caregivers for disabled adults and children or those with complex conditions requiring full-time care.

Senators Durbin and Young’s Congenital Heart Futures Reauthorization Act of 2024 extends programs related to congenital heart disease research, education, and surveillance and directs the HHS Secretary to convene a workshop to improve care for adult patients living with congenital heart disease. When children with congenital heart disease grow up, they often have trouble finding providers specializing in their condition.

We are not only reauthorizing existing programs, but also considering new legislation. The East Palestine [“pal-uh-STEEN"] Health Impact Monitoring Act of 2024, led by Senators Vance and Brown, directs HHS to examine potential health effects of the horrific train derailment in East Palestine [“pal-uh-STEEN"] Ohio last year by supporting a longitudinal study within the community.

I thank Chair Sanders for today’s markup and all my colleagues and their staffs for a successful collaboration.

Thank you.


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