Rep. Slaughter is considered one of the top health care authorities in Congress, with a range of legislative victories under her belt. As the only Member of Congress holding a master's degree in public health, she is uniquely qualified to examine and discuss the health care issues before our nation.
Rep. Slaughter is acknowledged as a leading expert in Congress on genetic discrimination issues. Rep. Slaughter worked on the issue for years before leading a successful effort to pass the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2007. This legislation prohibits health insurance companies and employers from using genetic information to discriminate against an individual. Thanks to Rep. Slaughter's efforts, the bill was signed into law on May 21, 2008.
In addition to genetic issues, Rep. Slaughter has led the effort to expand health research and health care for women. During the early 1990s, she was responsible for securing the first $500 million dedicated by Congress to breast cancer research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
She was also a leader in efforts to include women in all clinical trials conducted by NIH- a practice that had been resisted for many years. Prior to Rep. Slaughter's efforts, all research conducted by NIH was conducted on men- even when researching diseases such as breast and cervical cancer.
Rep. Slaughter also sponsored the first law directing NIH to research the miscarriage drug diethylstilbestrol (DES), which had serious health consequences for some children exposed in utero.
In addition to these accomplishments, Rep. Slaughter has been active on a wide range of other health issues, including antimicrobial resistance, female genital mutilation, environmental health, and men's health.
Rep. Slaughter is especially committed to the health care needs of her home district. Her office acts as a liaison between local health care providers and federal health care agencies. She regularly supports applications from area hospitals and researchers for federal grant funds.
Learn more about Rep. Slaughter's years of health care work by clicking a link below:
Did you know that each year more antibiotics are fed to food-animals in North Carolina than are given to all Americans? Thanks to this kind of misuse, antibiotic-resistant diseases now kill more Americans each year than HIV/AIDS.
On March 9, 2011, Rep. Slaughter re-introduced H.R. 965, The Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act (PAMTA), which is designed to end the routine use of antibiotics on healthy animals and curb the growing threat of superbugs.
PAMTA would preserve the effectiveness of medically important antibiotics by phasing out the use of these drugs in healthy food-producing animals, while allowing their use for treatment of sick animals. The legislation also requires the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to apply the same tough standards of new applications for approval of animal antibiotics. To learn more about the pending public health crisis and Slaughter's work to avert such a crisis, click here.
Rep. Slaughter is a strong supporter of the health care reforms included in the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Thanks to new law, children can stay on their parent's insurance until the age of 26, insurance companies can no longer deny a person health insurance, and millions of seniors now have free access to life saving health care- all while reducing the federal deficit by billions of dollars.
In New York's 28th district, the new law:
The Affordable Care Act has specific benefits for Older Americans as well. Among them:
The ACA reduces prescription drug costs for seniors by closing the coverage gap in Medicare Part D known as the ‘donut hole.’ It provides free annual wellness visits and other preventive services under Medicare. New tools to crack down on waste, fraud and abuse within Medicarehave already led to the recovery of more than $4.1 billion in fraudulent payments in 2011. Finally, the ACA added 8 years to Medicare’s solvency, as well as instituting cost reforms and other efficiency measures that will continue to strengthen the program for years to come.
Finally, health care reform makes a real difference for American women. For example, the new health care law:
In addition, the ACA contains important reforms to promote healthy pregnancies, prevent heart disease and obesity among women, prevent and control breast cancer and other types of cancer, and provide comprehensive coverage for women's preventative care.
Representative Slaughter is a long-time champion for seniors and working families who are struggling to pay for prescription drugs. In 2003, Rep. Slaughter opposed the Medicare Modernization Act, which created the Medicare Part D program, because it failed to provide meaningful relief for seniors, while providing excessive benefits to drug companies.
Since the enactment of the Medicare Modernization Act, the federal government has been prohibited from directly negotiating with pharmaceutical companies for lower prescription drug prices for the 28 million seniors who participate in Medicare Part D. According to a 2008 report by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, the federal government could save $156 billion over ten years by requiring the Secretary of HHS to enter into negotiations on Medicare Part D drug prices. Moreover, Medicare beneficiaries could save up to $27 billion over the same period of time.
Rep. Slaughter has long called for allowing the Secretary of Health and Human Services to negotiate prescription drug prices for medicines covered under Medicare Part D. There is no reason that a proposal estimated to reduce the national deficit by $156 billion over the next ten years while helping consumers save money should be off the table at this critical time.
Currently, Rep. Slaughter is a co-sponsor of HR 2248, the Medicare Prescription Drug Price Negotiation Act of 2011, which would authorize the Secretary of Health and Human Services to negotiate these lower prices for seniors.
In addition, Rep. Slaughter signed a letter in October 2011 to the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction (commonly called the "Super Committee") to include this proposal as a cost saving measure in the deficit reduction package they were tasked with creating.
During the 111th Congress, Rep. Slaughter opposed legislation that would have increased Medicare Part B premiums; she also sponsored legislation to provide needed relief to seniors as there was no Social Security cost of living adjustment (COLA) in 2010.
Rep. Slaughter also supported the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act (MIPPA) when it passed in the House of Representatives by a vote of 355- 59 on Jul 15, 2008. MIPPPA amended the Social Security Act to extend expiring provisions under the Medicare Program, in order to improve access to preventive and mental health services, to enhance low-income benefit programs, and to maintain access to care in rural areas, including pharmacy access.
As a champion of women's rights, Rep. Slaughter has worked to promote women's health throughout her career in Congress. Her work has covered a wide range of issues, from breast cancer research to genetic non-discrimination, and from reproductive health to women in science.
In the 112th Congress, Rep. Slaughter introduced the Violence Against Women Health Initiative Act,which would help health providers prevent and respond to domestic and sexual violence. Health care providers often only address current injuries, without tackling the underlying cause of those injuries. This highlights the need to ensure that health care providers have the necessary training and support in order to assess, refer, and support victims of domestic violence. H.R. 1578 reauthorizes three existing health programs at current funding authorization levels with changes designed to increase evaluation and accountability.
In addition to her current work in Congress, Representative Slaughter's work on women's health spans more than three decades.
As a member of the House Budget Committee in the early 1990s, Rep. Slaughter was responsible for securing passage of the first $500 million dedicated to breast cancer research, as well as substantial increases in following years.
After DES (an anti-miscarriage drug) was discovered to have devastating health consequences to mothers and their children exposed in utero, Rep. Slaughter fought for The DES Education and Research Amendments of 1993. This legislation provided for public health education, health professional training, and additional research on the long-term health effects of exposure to the drug DES. She also authored follow-up legislation to extend and expand these programs.
In 1995, Rep. Slaughter sponsored legislation requiring a review of all federal programs that assess or mitigate the risks to women's health from environmental exposures, and for a study of the research needs of the federal government relating to such risks.
During the 105th Congress, Rep. Slaughter brought attention to colorectal cancer, stressing the need for prevention education and awareness. She led efforts requiring insurance companies to cover screening tests for colorectal cancer, in part because too many women were unaware that colorectal cancer strikes women and men with equal frequency. In order to lead public education and awareness efforts, Rep. Slaughter requested the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issue a report on colorectal cancer in 1997. As a result of that report, she called on HHS to launch a new public awareness campaign on colorectal cancer. This language was included in the 1998 omnibus appropriations package and the campaign was launched in March 1999.
Congresswoman Slaughter also secured passage of the Eating Disorders Information and Education Act, as a part of the 1998 funding legislation for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services and Education. Information on eating disorders is now included in prominent federal health education campaigns such as healthfinder.gov, the National Women's Health Information Center, and GirlPower!
Female genital mutilation (FGM) has been a long-standing concern of Representative Slaughter. She requested a report from the Department of Health and Human Services on the continuing prevalence of female genital mutilation (FGM) in the United States in an attempt to find the best ways to discourage this practice. Rep. Slaughter was also responsible for the passage of legislative language directing the Department of Health and Human Services to continue and intensify its efforts to educate immigrant communities in the U.S. about the health dangers posed by this practice.
In the 109th Congress, Rep. Slaughter joined her colleagues in calling on the FDA to approve the HPV vaccine, which protects women against cervical cancer. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cervical cancer strikes about 12,000 women in the United States each year, and 4,000 die from the disease. The primary cause of cervical cancer is certain high-risk strains of the Human papillomavirus (HPV). FDA approved the first HPV vaccine in 2006. This vaccine targets cervical cancers associated with HPV, is highly effective, and could prevent the development of a disease that causes 12 percent of cancer deaths in women worldwide. Even more promising is that fact that this vaccine can be administered to both females and males to prevent the disease.
Rep. Slaughter has also fought to extend reproductive health services abroad to those most in need. More than half a million women die from pregnancy-related causes and childbirth complications each year. The vast majority of these preventable deaths occur in the poorest countries in the world where there are limited services to promote safe motherhood and a lack of basic health infrastructure. Congresswoman Slaughter, as she has done multiple times, again this year authored a letter requesting an increase in funding for international family planning and reproductive health assistance in the State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill for Fiscal Year 2013. One hundred and five Members of Congress joined the Congresswoman in sending this letter. This increase will help to reverse a decade of inadequate funding and support the health and well-being of women, children and families across the globe.
Rep. Slaughter shares the growing concern that hormone disrupting pollutants in our environment may explain the rise in occurrences of childhood cancers, testicular cancer, juvenile diabetes, thyroid disorders, learning disabilities, cognitive impairments and autoimmune disorders over the past 30 years. Despite the progress made in understanding the link between these chemicals and hormone disruption, further research is still needed. Rep. Slaughter believes that investing in research today could prevent and treat a broad range of diseases and disorders in future generations.
Rep. Slaughter introduced legislation in the 112th Congress aimed at protecting the most vulnerable victims of environmental health hazards – our children. Her legislation, the Children’s Health Task Force Act, formally establishes an inter-agency task force charged with addressing risks such as the impact of air pollution, hazardous chemicals and lead exposure on children. In 1997, former President Clinton established by Executive Order an inter-agency task force to address high priority risks to children’s health. Former President George W. Bush further amended the Executive Order to extend the work of this task force an additional few years. Since its establishment, the Task Force has successfully developed strategies and actions plans for addressing asthma, unintentional injuries, lead poisoning, childhood cancer, and school environments. Rep. Slaughter’s legislation would ensure the Task Force continues to operate in years to come, and has the support of the Rochester Coalition to Prevent Lead Poisoning, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Center for Healthy Housing, and Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital.
Rep. Slaughter is also working hard to end the treat of lead poisoning. Lead poisoning still impacts approximately 250,000 children in the United States every year. Repeated studies have linked lead poisoning with developmental delays, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), IQ reductions, hearing loss, sight problems, and other chronic health conditions.
During this Congress, Rep. Slaughter has fought for lead prevention and healthy housing initiatives at the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC), at the Department for Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
On March 19, 2010, Rep. Slaughter led two letters to the House Appropriations committee, urging sufficient funding for lead and healthy housing efforts in the HUD and CDC budgets. These letters helped to maintain funding in a difficult fiscal climate.
On May 21, 2008, legislation authored by Rep. Slaughter prohibiting health insurance companies and employers from discriminating based on genetic information became law. The Genetic Nondiscrimination Information Act, prevents health insurers from canceling, denying, refusing to renew, or changing the terms or premiums of coverage based on genetic information. It also prohibits employers from making hiring, firing, promotion, and other employment-related decision based on genetic factors. This legislation first passed the House of Representatives on April 5th 2008 by a vote of 420-3, it then underwent minor revision and passed unanimously in the Senate, 95-0, on April 24, 2008.
On May 1st, 2008, the bill went before the House once again where it passed 414-1 and was cleared for the President's signature. On May 21st, 2008, H.R. 493 was signed into law by the President and is now public law no. 110-233.
As the nation's premier medical research institution, the NIH is responsible both for performing research and funding other investigators. Today, scientists are on the verge of breakthroughs in genetics, cell biology, and other areas that will allow for innovative new methods of detection and treatment, as well as hopefully cures and prevention. Rep. Slaughter opposes proposed cuts to funding for this vital agency.