Washington, D.C. – Representatives Diana DeGette (D-CO), Tom Reed (R-NY) and Susan Brooks (R-IN) introduced a bill on Monday that would strengthen protections for Medicare beneficiaries who buy blood glucose testing supplies through the National Mail Order Competitive Bidding Program (CBP). Today, the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health held a legislative hearing examining bipartisan legislation to strengthen and improve Medicare, including H.R. 3271, the Protecting Access to Diabetes Supplies Act.
Medicare beneficiaries need accurate readings from their glucose meters to monitor their diabetes. Without accurate readings, beneficiaries are at risk for serious health consequences. ln order to ensure precise readings, beneficiaries must have access to coordinated testing supplies in order to safely manage their conditions. The Protecting Access to Diabetes Supplies Act addresses several issues beneficiaries have reported facing under the competitive bidding program regarding Diabetes Test Strips (DTS).
“The collegial discussion of our bill at today’s hearing shows both its necessity and its value,” DeGette said. “This legislation addresses the critical need to improve Medicare beneficiaries’ access to diabetes testing supplies. Our committee and Congress as a whole must remain committed to this bipartisan spirit of cooperation; the result will improve Americans’ health and well-being. We should continue moving this legislation along the path to becoming law for the benefit of the 11 million Americans on Medicare who have diabetes.”
“Seniors who are on Medicare need access to the proper health supplies in order to manage their diabetes,” said Reed. “I am happy to see that the Subcommittee on Health is reviewing the bill and that it is moving forward in the legislative process. I, along with Reps. DeGette and Brooks, are committed to ensuring that patients have a choice when it comes to treating their diabetes.”
“Medicare beneficiaries who live with the daily challenges associated with diabetes need access to test strips that work best with their bodies to monitor their glucose levels,” said Brooks. “Prevention and proper testing is key when managing a chronic condition like diabetes. This bill will help seniors access supplies that allow them to best control their diabetes. Testing with mismatched or incorrect supplies can have detrimental, even deadly consequences.”
Medicare beneficiaries living with diabetes will not be helped if meters cannot translate glucose levels reported on the test strips into a diagnosis. This bill would strengthen enforcement of current law requirements that suppliers in the CBP must include at least 50 percent of the types of test systems that were on the market before the CBP’s implementation. The competitive bidding program has several beneficiary protections that the legislation seeks to place into statute to ensure proper oversight and enforcement of these protections.
DeGette and Reed are the co-chairs of the Congressional Diabetes Caucus; Brooks serves as its vice-chair.
Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Susan W. Brooks (R-IN05) issued the following statement after the House Committee on Veterans Affairs passed a package of 16 bills, including a bill Brooks introduced earlier this year titled the Veterans To Enhance Studies Through (TEST) Accessibility Act:
“The transition back into civilian life can be challenging for our American heroes. Upon completion of service to our country, veterans should be able to seamlessly transfer the skills they mastered while serving in the military to jobs that can provide them the opportunity to build careers and bright futures. Our veterans should not have difficulty accessing educational resources and other tools needed to acquire certifications that would get them into the workforce. With this bipartisan package, we are one step closer to delivering millions of veterans across the country better access to the GI Bill benefits they have fought for and earned.”
For more information on the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017, click here. For more information on the Veterans To Enhance Studies Through (TEST) Accessibility Act, click here. For more information on today’s markup, click here.
Washington, DC – Representatives Diana DeGette (D-CO), Susan Brooks (R-IN) and Tom Reed (R-NY) introduced the “Protecting Access to Diabetes Supplies Act” (H.R. 3271), which would strengthen protections for Medicare beneficiaries who buy blood glucose testing supplies through the National Mail Order Competitive Bidding Program.
DeGette and Reed are the co-chairs of the Congressional Diabetes Caucus; Brooks serves as its vice-chair.
“At a time when Medicare and American health care in general are topics of contentious discussions in Washington and across the country, this bipartisan effort is something everyone can support,” DeGette said. “It will ensure that seniors who have diabetes are able to get quality test strips that are compatible with their glucose monitors. Diabetic patients often rely on test strips to read glucose levels accurately and dose medication appropriately. By making sure seniors can get test strips that work, this bill will deliver better health outcomes for millions of Medicare beneficiaries.”
“I am proud to have worked on and introduced the Protecting Access to Diabetes Supplies Act with Representatives DeGette and Reed,” said Brooks. “This important bipartisan bill will give thousands of Hoosiers who face the daily challenges of living with diabetes the freedom to choose which blood glucose test works best for them.”
“We must make sure that diabetic seniors have access to quality health care supplies,” Reed said. “Working across the aisle to deliver access to those who rely on test strips is a top priority for me. The protections will ensure Medicare patients have a choice when it comes to finding supplies that best fit the needs of their individual medical conditions.”
In establishing the Medicare Competitive Bidding Program (CBP), Congress and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services included rules intended to ensure that seniors would continue to have access to the blood glucose test systems of their choice. Unfortunately, several rounds of the CBP have revealed significant shortcomings in these protections. The Protecting Access to Diabetes Supplies Act would address these shortcomings so that in future CBP rounds, beneficiaries have access to preferred and familiar test systems.
This bill would strengthen enforcement of current law requirements that suppliers in the CBP must include at least 50 percent of the types of test systems that were on the market before the CBP’s implementation. It would also bolster consumer protections that prohibit suppliers from encouraging beneficiaries to switch from one testing system to another, and ensure that seniors are fully aware of their rights to receive test strips that meet their needs.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 11 million Americans age 65 and older have diabetes, nearly 26 percent of the Medicare population.
Washington, D.C. – Today, the House Committee on Veterans Affairs held a legislative hearing to add H.R. 1104, the Veterans To Enhance Studies Through (TEST) Accessibility Act, a bill Congresswoman Susan W. Brooks (R-IN05) introduced earlier this year, to H.R. 3218, the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017, a package of 16 bills that will reform and ultimately improve our veteran’s access to GI bill benefits.
“The Veterans TEST Accessibility Act does just what the title implies – it gives our veterans simpler, fairer access to tests, like the SAT, and certifications, like certifications for mechanics, firefighters, and realtors, so they can compete in today’s job market after serving our country,” said Brooks. “I’d like to thank Chairman Phil Roe for including my bill in this legislative package, as it ensures veterans across the country are prepared for a wide variety of career paths upon returning home from deployment by making it easier to enhance their education, build a career and provide a better life not only for themselves but for their families.”
Another significant provision included in the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017 removes time restrictions specifying when veterans can use their GI Bill benefits. Instead of the current 15-year timeline once a veteran has been discharged, vets will be able to use their GI Bill benefits for their entire life.
“Veterans across the country, including those in the Fifth District, should always be able to access the education benefits they have earned while protecting and defending our nation,” continued Brooks. “With over a half million veterans in the state of Indiana, I am committed to making sure our vets are properly compensated and cared for, and that includes guaranteeing access to important benefits and services that support assimilation back into civilian life.”
Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Susan W. Brooks (R-IN05) issued the following statement after voting in support of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018 (NDAA) in the House of Representatives:
“My vote today for the NDAA is a vote for troops. Our troops deserve stronger national defense capabilities and a pay raise as they put their lives on the line and sacrifice precious time with their loved ones to protect our freedoms.
Indiana is home to the sixth largest National Guard in the country and I am pleased this bipartisan bill includes provisions that promote readiness and ensure fair access to health benefits for the brave men and women who serve the National Guard.
Keeping Americans safe is government’s first job, and that is why we must have a military that is properly equipped to keep us safe at home and abroad. Military readiness in the 21st century goes beyond physical equipment enhancements and modernizations. With growing cyber-activity, we need stricter oversight of online communications, and this bipartisan bill prioritizes keeping our cyber-channels secure and crime-free.”
A recent study about the state of women in U.S. Congress has revealed that, despite a culture of toxic masculinity, and despite being heavily outnumbered by their male counterparts, women in the House and the Senate remain optimistic and empowered in their roles.
The study, conducted by the Center for American Women and Politics, the Eagleton Institute of Politics, and Political Parity, surveyed 83 out of the 108 female members of the 114th Congress: representatives, Senators and delegates who were in Congress during the 2015-16 session.
The survey was completed before the election of President Donald Trump, but, as the study says, the 114th Congress was “widely perceived to be characterized by sharp partisan divisions and legislative gridlock” ― and since Trump’s presidency began, this deep division and partisanship has continued.
According to the study, “women on both sides of the aisle in the 114th Congress very much believe that their presence and their voices mattered, and they provided considerable evidence of achievements despite the overall environment of gridlock and party polarization in which they operated.”
Below are the study’s major takeaways:
As the study’s author’s wrote, “many [women surveyed] contend that women are more results-oriented, more likely to emphasize achievement over ego, and more concerned with achieving policy outcomes rather than receiving publicity or credit.”
Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Mi.), said that she thinks women take a more results-oriented approach to their jobs as public servants, rather than seeking credit and attention.
“I think we are much more focused on solving problems and getting things done and less focused on the trappings of power, our name on a bill, all of the ego trappings with the job,” she said in the study.
Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tn.) agreed. “Guys have a tendency to seek a win, and we seek a win-win to get to a solution.”
Past research has shown that women in the Senate are, in fact, more productive than their male counterparts when it comes to trying to change or make laws. A 2015 analysis found that the average female Senator submitted 26 more bills than her male counterpart over a six-year timeframe.
Even though there were only 28 Republican women in the 114th Congress ― six women Senators and 22 representatives ― many of the interviewed women said that they make it a priority to work across party lines to get the most done.
“I think people assume that Republicans are always going to work against Democrats and Democrats are always going to work against Republicans, but sometimes I’m disagreeing with members of my own party,” Rep. Kristi Noem (R- S.D.) said. “Sometimes I’m building coalitions with Democrats that think more like I do on a certain policy than maybe members of my own conference... You can’t really be in this job and be effective if you aren’t bold enough to have those conversations.”
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fl.) told the researchers that she believes that women have more “harmonious” relationships across party lines than men do.
“We have a lot of institutions and informal groups where we interact, Democratic women with Republican women,” she said. “I would say that the women in the House interact in more favorable, more harmonious ways than our male counterparts or opposing [men]…of different parties.”
“Being here in Congress is not as hard as it was to get here,” said Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-Mi.). Of course, women are held to difference standards during an election campaign (just ask Hillary Clinton and countless other women at the local level).
But many women featured in the study also discussed how these double standards manifest after election day. They are often valued for their “style over substance” and, outdated gender roles often follow them into D.C.
Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wi.) said that women are still judged too harshly by their appearance. “[People] are still are more judgmental about women’s appearance than male appearance, [and these comments] are still…in abundant supply,” she said.
Women in Congress say they are are also plagued by the idea that they need to “have it all.”
“Sometimes I bring my kids to events because it’s an event that I have to go to ... so I’ve had comments. People will say to me, ‘Oh we didn’t vote for you to be a babysitter.’ Where I don’t sense the same thing that is said to men,” said Rep. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.).
Republican Rep. Blackburn acknowledged that those outdated gender roles may be especially present in her party.
“I think it should be noted that conservative men do not— that some conservative men do not view women as full and equal partners in the workplace,” she said. “And I know for some men, that is never going to change. So I don’t look at it and say it is a stumbling block. I recognize it and I do my part to change their attitude every day by doing a very good job of what is put in front of me to do.”
The election of President Trump has inspired thousands of women to run for office, and the women who have paved the way are ready to support those women in their campaigns.
“We have...an opportunity to try to be role models for women and men in our states and in the country and [to] try and change the mindset about women and girls’ thinking about running for office,” said Rep. Susan Brooks (R-In.).
Many of the women in the 114th Congress also acknowledged the importance of representation for so many young people across the country.
Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-Oh.) said that, as a black woman, she knows her role is bigger than just herself.
“It makes a difference when little African-American girls can dream that they, too, can serve in Congress,” she said. “I never thought as a little girl that I would be sitting in the United States Congress...and so now to be able to sit there and vote on the most important issues that are before us and that run this country, and to go back home and sit in the classroom or to sit in the neighborhood center and be able to honestly say, ’Somebody in this room — lots of you — can do this and yet do greater things.’”
Head over to Center for American Women and Politics to see the whole study.
Following the international WannaCry ransomware attack, which has reportedly infected approximately 300,000 computer systems in more than 150 nations, a bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced a bill that aims to combat cyberattacks and cybercrime against U.S. computer networks.
The Promoting Good Cyber Hygiene Act requires the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the Federal Trade Commission, and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to establish a baseline set of voluntary best practices for cybersecurity to be made available online.
Additionally, the legislation requires agencies to consider cyber hygiene benefits of standard cybersecurity measures including multi-factor authentication and data loss prevention. Further, the bill instructs DHS to study cybersecurity threats relating to Internet of Things devices.
The bill was introduced by U.S. Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA), U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN) and U.S. Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA).
“With cybercriminals growing bolder in their attacks, strengthening our cybersecurity infrastructure remains one of my top priorities in the Senate,” Hatch said. “Cyberattacks threaten our economy and inflict untold damage on thousands of Americans. Fortunately, proper cyber hygiene can prevent many of these attacks.”Read More
BOSTON — A rare night home with her family in Melrose over a year ago turned into a terrifying experience for U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark when flashing blue lights and a squadron of police vehicles and heavily-armed officers appeared in an instant on her front lawn.
The computer-generated message that prompted the serious response from Melrose police was stark: “Shots fired and an active shooter” was called in to the station’s business line, giving Clark’s address.
Clark, principal sponsor of legislation to make hoax calls triggering a heavy police response, or, “swatting,” a federal crime, had just been “swatted” herself on that scary night January 31, 2016.
The Interstate Swatting Hoax Act first introduced by Clark in November 2015 sought to amend the federal criminal code to make it a crime to use a telecommunications system, the mails, or another facility of interstate or foreign commerce to knowingly report false or misleading information with the intent to cause an emergency law enforcement response.
FBI reports document more than 400 swatting incidents nationwide each year.
Long an advocate for fighting cyber crime on the Internet against women and others, Clark represents Malden, Medford and Melrose as part of the 5th Massachusetts Congressional District. She is joining colleagues in unveiling another major bill which she called “a roadmap for Congress to address online safety and combat the rise in online crimes that disproportionately affect women and girls.”
“Like every parent, I spend a lot of time thinking about my kids’ safety, whether they’re out with their friends or navigating their lives online,” she said.
Clark has signed on to bipartisan legislation with Republican colleagues Susan Brooks and Patrick Meehan to sponsor the Online Safety Modernization Act of 2017.
The new legislation upgrades facets of several earlier bills Clark sponsored to combat online abuse, including a number of harassment-based crimes such as swatting, “sextorting” which uses sexual imagery in attempts to blackmail people, and “doxxing,” where personal information is used to harm people’s status and reputation and threaten them with bodily harm or worse.
The Online Safety Modernization Act enacts penalties for sextortion, doxxing, non-consensual pornography, and swatting, and gives local and federal law enforcement resources to investigate and prosecute online crimes and severe online threats.
“The growth of the internet and the proliferation of smartphones have meant that harassment and stalking increasingly takes place online, but our laws have been slow to keep pace with this new generation of predatory behavior,” said Meehan.
Clark, in a statement, said that the rise of online predators, particularly against women, has caused many victims to make unwanted, drastic choices.
“As federal policies have failed to keep up with online abuses and local police face a lack of resources, victims often feel they have no choice but to take drastic action like fleeing their homes, spending enormous sums on protection, and leaving job opportunities,” she stated.
In addition to staking out cyber predatory behavior as a federal offenses, Clark and her co-sponsors also propose $24 million in federal money to be spent by the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s office on investigating cyber crimes and prosecuting them at the federal level.
The legislation also proposes a grant program to train local police, prosecutors and judicial personnel on how to address and prosecute cyber predatory crime at the local level.
“Unlike parents before us, today we have to worry about things like sextortion, revenge porn, online threats, and online predators,” Clark said. “We need to make sure that our policies keep up with the realities of our connected world. The Online Safety Modernization Act ensures that our laws are updated to provide protections for the millions of Americans who are online right now, navigating their personal and professional lives.”Read More
President Donald Trump’s appointment of Indiana Health Commissioner Dr. Jerome Adams to serve as U.S. surgeon general was met with applause from U.S. Sen. Todd Young (R-IN) and U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN).
Adams, a Maryland native, earned his masters in public health from the University of California-Berkeley and a medical degree from the Indiana University School of Medicine. He’s currently a practicing anesthesiologist who serves as Indiana’s health commissioner.
“I commend the president on his nomination of Dr. Jerome Adams to serve as our nation’s surgeon general,” Young said. “The president would be hard-pressed to find a more exceptional person for this position. As our Indiana state health commissioner and a highly regarded anesthesiologist, he has devoted his professional life to serving our state and caring for Hoosiers, and he has been a great resource and friend to my team and me. I look forward to voting to confirm him.”
As Indiana health commissioner, Adams has led the state’s response to an HIV epidemic by advocating for syringe exchange programs to prevent needle sharing among drug abusers.
“Dr. Jerome Adams has served Hoosiers with distinction and great care for his fellow man,” Brooks said. “His work to address substance abuse and addiction in Indiana and his unwavering commitment to improving the health of Hoosiers make him an excellent choice to be our nation’s doctor. I know that he will bring the same compassion, empathy and spirit of service to the role of surgeon general that he has shown as Indiana state health commissioner.”Read More
The recent global cyberattack that affected thousands of computers worldwide and hampered major companies including A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S and Merck & Co. Inc. has raised the attention level of cybersecurity professionals looking for ways to help stop the crippling strikes.
It isn’t only multinationals that felt the wrath of the hackers. DLA Piper, which as of June 26 is the second largest firm in the U.S. according to the National Law Journal, was also a target of the attack. The large law firm put out a notice July 2 that there was “no evidence that client data was taken,” but that their investigation is ongoing.
Cybersecurity researchers from international organizations, the U.S. government, and the private-sector have all been working on ways to help stop the spread of these massive cyberattacks against companies.
One solution to help stop the spread of these attacks is to follow basic cybersecurity procedures that any company—large or small—can easily adopt, cybersecurity pros recently told Bloomberg BNA in the wake of the Petya and WannaCry ransomware attacks. For example, companies should routinely backup their sensitive data files and critical systems to ensure business continuity. Companies should also implement cybersecurity awareness training for all employees, engage in vulnerability assessment programs, and have an incident response plan in place, the cybersecurity pros said.
Congress may have yet another solution. The bipartisan Promoting Good Cyber Hygiene Act (H.R. 3010), introduced June 22 by Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) and co-sponsored by Rep. Susan Brooks (R-Ind.), would instruct the National Institute of Standards and Technology, along with the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Homeland Security, to provide a set of voluntary best practices that would be reviewed and updated on an annual basis. The bill would also require DHS to study internet of things cybersecurity risks. Companion legislation was also introduced in the Senate by Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.).
As “cyberattacks threaten our economy and inflict untold damage on thousands of” U.S. citizens, basic cybersecurity protocols and best practices “can prevent many of these attacks,” Hatch said in a June 29 statement. Markey said in a statement that the bill would “establish best practices for good cyber hygiene such as two factor authentication, an important step that will help” the U.S. prevent the growing cyberattack risk.Read More
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Congresswoman Susan Brooks represents the 5th District of Indiana, which spans eight diverse counties throughout the central part of the Hoosier State. As a new member of Congress, she currently serves on the Education and Workforce, Homeland Security and Ethics Committees. She is also the Chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response and Communications.
Her strong background in both the public and private sectors includes experience as a proven difference maker in areas such as public safety, homeland security, counter-terrorism and economic development.
Before joining the House of Representatives, Susan served as Senior Vice President and General Counsel for Ivy Tech Community College. Collaborating with a wide network or stakeholders, she implemented workforce development strategies aiming to enhance job training and placement for thousands of Hoosier residents.
In 2001, President George W. Bush appointed Susan as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana. Serving as the chief federal law enforcement officer for a majority of the Hoosier state, she received bi-partisan acclaim for efforts to battle mortgage fraud, gun violence, drug trafficking, gangs, child exploitation and identity theft.
Susan also earned recognition as Deputy Mayor of Indianapolis during the Steve Goldsmith administration, where she provided oversight on public safety operations and drove community dialogue on vital civic issues. Over her tenure, she managed police, fire and emergency response efforts while serving on boards related to criminal justice, community corrections, violence reduction and race relations.
Susan practiced law at the Indianapolis firm of Ice Miller and also served as a criminal defense attorney for Indianapolis based McClure, McClure and Kammen.
After receiving her undergraduate degree from Miami University of Ohio, Susan pursued a Juris Doctor (J.D.) from the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law. In May of 2013, Susan was awarded an honorary Doctor of Public Service degree from Marian University in Indianapolis. She resides in Carmel, Indiana with her husband David and they have two young adult children.
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IUL is doing great work to support the community- giving out supplies to get kids ready to go back to school. Plent… https://t.co/T7zHEDlg5f