Source: United States House of Representatives – Representative Gus Bilirakis (FL-12)
July 22, 2021
Five Bilirakis Bills Headed to the Floor
Washington, DC: Five bills coauthored by Congressman Gus Bilirakis passed out of the Energy & Commerce Committee earlier today. These bills are designed to address specific problems plaguing communities he serves and to help better protect vulnerable populations. Bilirakis, who has recently been named as Florida’s Most Effective Republican Member of Congress and Florida’s Most Bipartisan Congressman is continuing to work across the aisle to obtain results for his constituents. More information about the five bills which passed out of the Committee is provided below:
- The Opioid Prescription Verification Act (H.R. 2355) will strengthen electronic prescribing and verification practices at pharmacies and build off of work that Bilirakis did in the SUPPORT Act to improve the use of electronic Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs across the health care system. “Many of my constituents are overdosing and dying at alarming rates. We have to take practical steps to put additional safeguards in place in order to reverse that troubling trend, curb opioid abuse, and save lives,” said Congressman Gus Bilirakis.
- The Collecting and Analyzing Resources Integral and Necessary for Guidance (CARING) for Social Determinants Act (H.R. 3894) employs regularly updated guidance on the social determinants of health under the Medicaid and CHIP programs. For example, efforts to combat childhood obesity in at-risk populations, which lead to excessive healthcare expenditures, are most successful when combined with strategies designed to make sure low-income families have access to affordable, healthy food options. Prevention, education and improving access are essential components of effective public health programs. “We must look at the big picture. It is impossible to improve the population health of communities without addressing the factors that contribute to poor health outcomes. This is especially true when examining programs for children on Medicaid and CHIP. This is not just a pragmatic approach; it is the right thing to do as we work to ensure all children have the best possible start in life,” said Bilirakis.
- The Vaccine Information for Nursing Facility Operators (INFO) Act (H.R. 3742) emphasizes the importance of educating healthcare workers about the value of vaccinations to curb the spread of deadly infectious diseases in nursing homes. There is a direct correlation between low vaccination rates and higher transmission of disease in nursing home facilities, and this bill would help address the important information in accordance to ACIP. “This is an important tool for keeping our seniors safe and disseminating information on the benefits of vaccinations for facility workers,” noted Congressman Bilirakis.
- The Supporting Medicaid in the U.S. Territories Act (H.R. 4406) will provide continued funding access to healthcare for America’s seniors, children, and those with disabilities in Puerto Rico for the next five years and the U.S. territories for the next eight years, while strengthening accountability and program integrity in Medicaid in Puerto Rico to prevent fraud and abuse. “We have an obligation to ensure a continued safety net for our most vulnerable patient populations while putting safeguards in place to strengthen accountability for the wise use of taxpayer dollars and incentivize best practices in the Medicaid program,” added Bilirakis.
- The American Cybersecurity Literacy Act will require the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to establish a cybersecurity literacy campaign to increase knowledge and awareness of cybersecurity risks among the American public, including best practices for preventing cyberattacks. “In recent months we have seen disruptive cyberattacks on some of our nations’ most critical infrastructure systems, such as the Colonial Pipeline. In my district, a hacker was recently able to penetrate a local government’s security measures and temporarily change the chemical settings of the city’s water supply to a potentially dangerous level. Fortunately, the breach was discovered before anyone was in danger. However, these incidents underscore the importance of fortifying and modernizing our critical infrastructure to prevent further attacks,” Bilirakis said. “”Our bipartisan legislation will develop a national education campaign to raise awareness of attacks and the practical steps that can be taken to thwart future bad actors. This is a matter of national security and we must do everything we can to protect all Americans from those who wish to do us harm.”