April 24, 2024

Improving American healthcare

By Mariannette Miller-Meeks

Last week I was chosen to serve and represent Iowa on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. In this new role, one of my top priorities is to advance healthcare legislation to benefit Iowans and all Americans. As a doctor, former nurse, and former director of Iowa’s Department of Public Health, I know firsthand the importance of ensuring people have access to medical care and lifesaving prescription medication.

With inflation and rising costs, Iowans have had to make difficult decisions to provide for their families, especially when it comes to prescription medications. It’s time for Congress to address the issue and take real action to make drugs more affordable for all Americans. As a member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, I plan to introduce legislation to increase competition between pharmaceutical companies, including reintroducing my Biologics Competition Act, bipartisan legislation that would require the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to evaluate the process by which chemically equivalent interchangeable biological products are approved to be used in pharmaceuticals. This will encourage HHS to expedite the approval process for biosimilar products, which may be used interchangeably in place of more expensive drugs including insulin. In many cases, these products will increase pharmaceutical drug competition and the ability to use them interchangeably will lower drug prices. No one should be forced to choose between feeding their family and purchasing lifesaving medications.

Government regulations have also hindered our healthcare system. For too long, the FDA approval process for medical devices has been outdated and is causing a lack of innovation and competition in the market. Another one of my priorities on the Energy and Commerce Committee is to modernize and streamline the FDA approval process for medical devices. Modernization will allow for new technologies to enter the market and make it easier for patients to receive lifesaving care. One of my bills, the Better Interoperability for Devices (BID) Act, would ensure the Department of Health and Human Services is consistently reviewing medical device interoperability to offer patients top notch care in an efficient manner.

Lastly, one of my top priorities is to expand access to healthcare in rural areas. During the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth was an effective resource in delivering medical care to patients from the comfort of their homes. By passing legislation to implement artificial intelligence and machine learning technology healthcare, especially telehealth services, will be more efficient and accessible to rural communities.

I am excited about the opportunity to serve on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, and I look forward to spearheading legislation to improve our healthcare system.

Mariannette Miller-Meeks currently represents Iowa’s First District in the United States House of Representatives