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Health Chairwoman Dr. Miller-Meeks Opens Leg Hearing on 12 Bills, to Include Work on Breakthrough Therapies Legislation

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-Iowa), the Chairwoman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Health, delivered the following opening remarks, as prepared, at the subcommittee’s legislative hearing on 12 bills aimed at improving an array of aspects of veteran healthcare, from mobility assistance to transportation compensation and alternative therapies:


Good afternoon.


This legislative hearing of the Subcommittee on Health will now come to order.


I want to welcome all the members of the subcommittee and our witnesses. It’s a privilege to collaborate once more on crucial matters affecting our veterans. 


Today we will be discussing twelve bills, each aimed at improving various aspects and critical needs of veterans’ whole health care.


These bills range from increasing the availability of assistive mobility devices for veterans living with paralysis, to guaranteeing appropriate compensation for providers of essential transportation services, and other pressing concerns.


I would like to discuss my bill, H.R. 3584, the Veterans Cannabis Analysis, Research, and Effectiveness Act, or CARE Act. For years, we have heard anecdotal, firsthand accounts from veterans who have experienced decreased PTSD symptoms and pain through medicinal cannabis. My bill would create a research framework for exploring the potential health benefits of cannabis for treating PTSD and chronic pain. Through rigorous research, VHA can explore a new, evidence-based treatment option that may have the potential to enhance the lives of those who have served our nation and to treat the invisible wounds of war.


My bill also has a commitment to preserving data for future research, which underscores a long-term vision for evidence-based treatment options. It is important to not let old stigmas interfere with the healthcare treatment veterans are receiving if a therapy is proven to be safe, effective, and improves veterans’ quality of life.


I am proud to introduce this bill so that we can gain insight into new therapies that could help those who need it the most.


Today we will also discuss Representative Van Orden’s bill on alternative therapies. H.R. 7347 would direct the VA Secretary to report to Congress on whether VA will include psychedelic drugs in VA’s list of pharmaceuticals after FDA approval.


I look forward to a productive discussion today on my legislation as well as the rest of the bills on today’s agenda and the positive impact they promise.


And thank you to our witnesses, and those organizations that submitted statements for the record, for their thoughtful feedback on my bill and the other bills we will discuss today.


Ensuring the highest standard of care for our veterans is more than our responsibility; it’s a profound honor. I look forward to our discussion on the merits and challenges of all the legislation before us today, and the impact they could have on VA operations and most importantly veterans’ lives.


Again, thank you all for being here.


I now yield to Ranking Member Brownley for her opening remarks.
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