Health Subcommittee Approves Protect Life Act, Additional Health Care Legislation

February 11, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC - The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health, chaired by Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA), today passed four pieces of health care legislation: the Protect Life Act, H.R. 358; the Veterinary Public Health Workforce and Education Act, H.R. 525; the Neglected Infections of Impoverished Americans Act, H.R. 528; and the Dental Emergency Responder Act, H.R.570.

The Protect Life Act, authored by Subcommittee Chairman Pitts, prohibits federal funding of abortions and abortion coverage under the recently enacted health care law. The language is consistent with an amendment to the health care law adopted by the House in 2009, but excluded from the final law. The bill passed through the subcommittee by a vote of 14-9.

"According to various surveys, 60 to 70 percent of Americans oppose federal funding of abortion services," said Subcommittee Chairman Pitts.  "I am pleased that that the members of this subcommittee gave voice to the American people and approved the Protect Life Act."

The Dental Emergency Responders Act, authored by Rep. Michael Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), allows, but does not require, the Secretary of Health and Human Services to incorporate dentists and dental facilities into disaster response planning.  The bill passed through the subcommittee by voice vote.

The Neglected Infections of Impoverished Americans Act, authored by Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA), requires the Department of Health and Human Services to conduct a study and report to Congress on six neglected parasitic diseases that are believed to be related to poverty.  The bill passed through the subcommittee by voice vote.

The Veterinary Public Health Workforce and Education Act, authored by Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), allows those going into the field of veterinary public health to be eligible for an existing loan repayment program under the Public Health Service Act.  The bill passed through the subcommittee by voice vote.

"I want to thank the Subcommittee members for introducing and approving these non-controversial bills to ensure the health care industry is equipped with vital information and resources to save lives," said Pitts.

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