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house Bill H.R. 437

Do U.S. Medical Facilities Need Better Plans For Large-Scale Chemical Or Biological Emergencies?

Argument in favor

The U.S. medical system needs to be able to respond rapidly to a chemical or biological attack. Creating a pharmaceutical stockpile, and protecting healthcare workers will be essential for stopping an epidemic.

Emily's Opinion
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01/30/2017
You should edit the bill to guarantee the funds go to the medical facilities, then vote yes.
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ShePersisted's Opinion
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02/04/2017
its a start. no law is perfect. we have to start somewhere and we have to start now. failure to plan is a plan to fail. lets pass this one and then revise it and keep revising it as needed. dont stop a good idea because its not good enough. keep the ball moving.
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Katie's Opinion
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01/31/2017
This bill needs to have more oversight written in but overall the country is not prepared for mass medical emergency or attack and this is a good start.
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Argument opposed

This bill does not outline any oversight to ensure that the grant funding is actually used for preparing medical facilities and personnel for a national disaster.

AliceC's Opinion
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01/30/2017
As a public health professional, I know there are HUNDREDS of other health issues that are 100% plaguing the US! While disaster may be more likely under the new administration, problems like disparities in health and shortages of nurses in hospitals are affecting us RIGHT NOW. For one, lack of doctors and nurses and reduces the staff's ability to work effectively. Plus, no oversight means the money won't be allocated to carry out its intended purpose, unfortunately.
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Ethan's Opinion
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01/30/2017
I would fully support this bill if anywhere in the bill it was laid out what the money can and cannot be used for. Since that is not stated I can't support this.
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Gregthewhite's Opinion
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01/30/2017
While I believe better plans for medical emergencies are necessary for national security and general preparedness for emergency, I cannot stand behind a bill with no plans for oversight.
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What is House Bill H.R. 437?

This bill would look to expand grant funding that allows medical facilities to be better prepared for large-scale chemical or biological emergencies.

The Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) and the State Homeland Security Grant Program (SHSGP) could be used under this bill to distribute funding to:

  • Improve the ability of medical facilities to respond to a surge in patients seeking medical attention.

  • Develop and maintain a pharmaceutical stockpile that includes medical equipment, medication, and other necessary supplies.

  • Acquire diagnostic tools in sufficient quantities to protect first responders, their families, immediate victims, and vulnerable populations.

Impact

People affected by a chemical or biological event, first responders, medical personnel, medical facilities receiving and distributing funding through UASI & SHSGP, and FEMA.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 437

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth: The threat of bioterrorism involving the use of chemical or biological weapons has been a concern for U.S. national security strategists for years, and for good reason: 
  • America suffered its largest bioterror attack in 1984, when a series of deliberate salmonella poisonings infected more than 750 people in Oregon. 
  • In the aftermath of September 11th there were several anthrax attacks that killed five people. 
  • In 2014, it was discovered that ISIS militants were attempting to weaponize the bubonic plague for use in terror attacks. 
  • New York Times story revealed that between 2004 and 2011, U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq located stockpiles of chemical weapons, some of which were located in areas ISIS controlled in 2014.

The Ebola epidemic that has primarily been focused in Western Africa, has led to the infection of health care workers and other people in the U.S. Concerns about the potential of an Ebola outbreak in the U.S. have underscored the difficulty in containing the virus. Suppliers of medical equipment — such as HAZMAT suits — have seen a dramatic increase in sales, and healthcare workers are concerned with a lack of equipment.


Media:

(Photo Credit: Feuerwehr Brandoberndorf)

AKA

Medical Preparedness Allowable Use Act

Official Title

To amend the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to codify authority under existing grant guidance authorizing use of Urban Area Security Initiative and State Homeland Security Grant Program funding for enhancing medical preparedness, medical surge capacity, and mass prophylaxis capabilities.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
  • The house Passed January 31st, 2017
    Passed by Voice Vote
      house Committees
      Committee on Homeland Security
    IntroducedJanuary 11th, 2017

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    You should edit the bill to guarantee the funds go to the medical facilities, then vote yes.
    Like (37)
    Follow
    Share
    As a public health professional, I know there are HUNDREDS of other health issues that are 100% plaguing the US! While disaster may be more likely under the new administration, problems like disparities in health and shortages of nurses in hospitals are affecting us RIGHT NOW. For one, lack of doctors and nurses and reduces the staff's ability to work effectively. Plus, no oversight means the money won't be allocated to carry out its intended purpose, unfortunately.
    Like (266)
    Follow
    Share
    I would fully support this bill if anywhere in the bill it was laid out what the money can and cannot be used for. Since that is not stated I can't support this.
    Like (92)
    Follow
    Share
    While I believe better plans for medical emergencies are necessary for national security and general preparedness for emergency, I cannot stand behind a bill with no plans for oversight.
    Like (63)
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    The intent is right, but the planning and thought around this bill needs more work.
    Like (31)
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    Revamp this to include oversight, first responder training, and public education components...and I'll consider it.
    Like (28)
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    No oversight and no transparency = no passing bill
    Like (14)
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    Definitely would support a better bill to address this concern.
    Like (10)
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    its a start. no law is perfect. we have to start somewhere and we have to start now. failure to plan is a plan to fail. lets pass this one and then revise it and keep revising it as needed. dont stop a good idea because its not good enough. keep the ball moving.
    Like (10)
    Follow
    Share
    This bill needs to have more oversight written in but overall the country is not prepared for mass medical emergency or attack and this is a good start.
    Like (7)
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    I understand the need but with no oversight I do not support this. More transparency and you have my support.
    Like (6)
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    Without any estimation of cost or plans for oversight, this is irresponsible. Please rewrite and resubmit as I feel it is an important issue in an age where disease can spread rapidly
    Like (5)
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    H.R. 437 amends the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to codify authority under existing grant guidance authorizing the use of Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) and State Homeland Security Grant Program (SHSGP) funding for enhancing medical preparedness, medical surge capacity, and mass prophylaxis capabilities. This includes the development and maintenance of an initial pharmaceutical stockpile, including medical kits and diagnostics sufficient to protect first responders and their families, immediate victims, and vulnerable populations from a chemical or biological event. Through hearings and briefings since the 112th and 113th, the Committee on Homeland Security has received information from federal, state, and local stakeholders about the importance of medical preparedness.[1] This legislation ensures that UASI and SHSGP funds are available for medical preparedness uses. In the 114th Congress [2 years ago], similar legislation (H.R. 361) passed by a vote of 377-2. [Apparently, the Senate didn't do anything with the previous bill, so I'm wondering what chance it has this go-around....] https://policy.house.gov/legislative/bills/hr-437-medical-preparedness-allowable-use-act I would just like to add that this kind of preparedness would be critical if we were first crippled by an EMP!
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    Ensuring funding is actually used for what it is earmarked for is imperative! I would support this Bill if it specifically outlined oversight and a set of requirements for the facilities to meet with the grant money.
    Like (5)
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    We need to be more prepared for an eventual attack or accident. We need to be proactive and not reactive.
    Like (4)
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    This bill does not outline any oversight to ensure that the grant funding is actually used for preparing medical facilities and personnel for a national disaster.
    Like (4)
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    Alarming: "This bill does not outline any oversight to ensure that the grant funding is actually used for preparing medical facilities and personnel for a national disaster."
    Like (3)
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    If ebola & zika has taught us anything, it's that our medical emergency response infrastructure is not enough to protect multiple population centers (at the same time). If big pharma or medical facilities aren't going to take care of this (which they should), then we need to allocate resources to protect the military & our families.
    Like (3)
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    Upon reading this question, I'm thinking Of Course They Do. I believe FEMA has had a function in national disasters, including biological and chemical interventions. How great? Im not sure. Much of what may happen will be locally and spreading from a point of conception. I feel confident collaboration and communication will occur during or the nation will demand heads to roll.
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    Lacking transparency.
    Like (3)
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