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health care

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Occurrences in the Congressional Record

Entry Title Date
National Rural Health Day November 19, 2014
Lynn Jenkins, R-KS
"I was born and raised in a small town in Kansas. I understand firsthand that folks in rural communities deserve access to quality health care options. A growing challenge facing folks in many rural communities across the country is access to health care. For many rural communities, the presence of a critical access hospital could be the deciding factor in whether or not the next generation decides to raise their family in their hometown."
President’S Health Care Law November 19, 2014
John Barrasso, R-WY
"Madam President, this past Saturday the open enrollment period for the Obama health care law opened in terms of the health care exchange. People who bought health insurance through or through their State’s exchange are finally allowed to see how much their insurance is going to cost next year. Things were pushed back beyond the election so people wouldn’t be able to find out before the election what it was going to cost. So the Obama administration had all of this information for awhile, but they intentionally kept it secret until after election day. Now people get to see the prices, and many people across the country are absolutely in shock at the increased costs of the health care law."
National Rural Health Day November 19, 2014
Adrian Smith, R-NE
"Rural hospitals are also having to deal with arbitrary regulations, such as physician supervision and a 96-hour pre-certification rule. These facilities simply do not have the power to abide by these regulations while continuing to provide affordable and efficient health care."
Fighting Ebola: A Ground Level View November 19, 2014
Christopher Smith, R-NJ
"Mr. Speaker, the world community has known of the Ebola Virus Disease, more commonly called just Ebola, since it first appeared in a remote region near the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1976. In previous outbreaks, Ebola had been confined to remote areas in which there was little contact outside the villages or areas in which it appear. Unfortunately, this outbreak, now an epidemic, spread from a village to an international center for regional trade and spread into urban areas in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone that are crowded with limited medical services and limited resident trust of government. The unprecedented west African Ebola epidemic has not only killed more than 5,000 people, with more than 14,000 others known to be infected. This situation has skewed the planning for how to deal with this outbreak. In our two previous hearings on the Ebola epidemic, on August 7th and September 17th, we heard about the worsening rates of infection and challenges in responding to this from government agencies such as USAID and CDC and NGOs operating on the ground such as Samaritan’s Purse and SIM. The hearing I held yesterday was intended to take testimony from non-governmental organizations providing services on the ground currently in the affected countries, especially Liberia, so we can better determine how proposed actions are being implemented. In its early stages, Ebola manifests the same symptoms as less immediately deadly diseases, such as malaria, which means initial health care workers have been unprepared for the deadly nature of the disease they have been asked to treat. This meant that too many health care workers—national and international—have been at risk in treating patients who themselves may not know they have Ebola. Hundreds of health care workers have been infected and many have died, including some of the top medical personnel in the three affected countries. What we found quite quickly was that the health care systems in these countries, despite heavy investment by the United States and other donors, are quite weak. As it happens, these are three countries either coming out of very divisive civil conflict or experiencing serious political divisions. Consequently, citizens have not been widely prepared to accept recommendations from their governments. For quite some time, many people in all three countries would not accept that the Ebola epidemic was real. Even now, it is believed that despite the prevalence of burial teams throughout Liberia, for example, some families are reluctant to identify their suffering and dead loved ones for safe burials, which places family members and their neighbors at heightened risk of contracting this often fatal disease when patients are most contagious. The porous borders of these three countries have allowed people to cross between countries at will. This may facilitate commerce, but it also allows for diseases to be transmitted regionally. As a result, the prevalence of Ebola in these three countries has ebbed and flowed with the migration of people from one country to another. Liberia remains the hardest hit of the three countries, with more than 6,500 Ebola cases officially recorded. The number of infected and dead from Ebola could be as much as three times higher than the official figure due to underreporting. Organizations operating on the ground have told us over the past few months that despite the increasing reach of international and national efforts to contact those infected with Ebola, there remain many remote areas where it is still difficult to find residents or gain sufficient trust to obtain their cooperation. Consequently, the ebb and flow in infections continues. Even when it looks like the battle is being won in one place, it increases in a neighboring country and then reignites in the areas that looked to be successes. The United States is focusing on Liberia, the United Kingdom is focusing on Sierra Leone, and France and the European Union are supposed to focus on Guinea. In both Sierra Leone and Guinea, the anti-Ebola efforts are behind the pace of those in Liberia. This epidemic must brought under control in all three if our efforts are to be successful. Last week, I, along with Representatives Karen Bass and Mark Meadows of the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations, introduced H.R. 5710, the Ebola Emergency Response Act. This bill lays out the steps needed for the U.S. government to effectively help fight the west African Ebola epidemic, especially in Liberia—the worst-hit of the three affected countries. This includes recruiting and training health care personnel, establishing fully functional treatment centers, conducting education campaigns among populations in affected countries and developing diagnostics, treatments and vaccines. H.R. 5710 confirms U.S. policy in the anti-Ebola fight and provides necessary authorities for the Administration to continue or expand anticipated actions in this regard. The bill encourages U.S. collaboration with other donors to mitigate the risk of economic collapse and civil unrest in the three affected countries. Furthermore, this legislation authorizes funding of the International Disaster Assistance account at the higher FY2014 level to effectively support these anti-Ebola efforts."
Girls Count Act Of 2014 November 19, 2014
Eliot Engel, D-NY
"Unregistered children are often prevented from access to health care, including necessary child immunizations, and from enrolling in school. Down the line, many of these children will be unable to inherit land or money, start a business, or even open a bank account."

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