At first ‘State of the 8th District,’ Slotkin touts PFAS legislation signed into law, announces bipartisan bills to lower insulin costs, secure border

U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin

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U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Holly) held her first “State of the 8th District” event today at East Lansing High School, where she recapped her bipartisan legislative achievements from her first year in Congress, including legislation signed into law to combat PFAS contamination in Michigan, and outlined priorities for the coming year, announcing two bipartisan bills on key issues for 8th district families and employers.

Slotkin announced that she will be co-leading a major, bipartisan piece of legislation in the House called the Insulin Price Reduction Act, which would lower the skyrocketing price of leading insulins back down to 2006 levels. This comes a month after Slotkin invited fellow Holly resident and Type 1 diabetic Sarah Stark to the President’s State of the Union address. In the 22 years Stark has been a Type 1 diabetic, the cost of her insulin has risen from $17.75 per vial to now $276 per vial – over 15 times the original cost.

Slotkin also announced the introduction of her new bipartisan border security bill, the INTEL at Our Border Act, which would require the Department of Homeland Security to create a comprehensive strategy for identifying, deploying, and integrating emerging technologies, such as surveillance technology, 3-D modeling, radar, and laser scanning technology for detecting underground tunnels. As a Member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, Slotkin has prioritized border related issues, visiting both the Northern Border and the Southern Border with the only bipartisan congressional delegation to visit the McAllen, Texas facilities last year.

DETAILS ON PFAS LEGISLATION SLOTKIN PASSED INTO LAW IN HER FIRST YEAR: As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, Slotkin fought her first year to include provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that reduce PFAS contamination in Michigan. Here are the provisions Slotkin passed into law as part of the NDAA:

• Slotkin’s PFAS Monitoring Act, amends the Safe Drinking Water Act to require the EPA, for the first time, to test for at least 30 PFAS substances in drinking water. For large municipalities (over 10,000 people), the municipalities would be responsible for paying for monitoring/testing. To avoid burdening medium (3,300-10,000) and smaller (less than 3,300) municipalities, however, the EPA would be responsible for the cost of monitoring.

Fiscal Year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act:
• The DoD must stop using PFAS-laden firefighting foam (AFFF) no later than 2024, and prioritize efforts to find a safe alternative;
• Bans the use of PFAS-laden firefighting foam in training/exercises;
• Provides the National Guard access to DoD environmental remediation funds specifically for PFAS remediation;
• Requires the DoD to adhere to state-level drinking water standards if they are more stringent than federal standards;
• Authorizes DoD to provide alternative water for farmers affected by PFAS contaminated agricultural water;
• Requires DoD to provide blood testing for DoD firefighters exposed to PFAS during their annual physical exam to determine and document potential exposure;
• Provisions to ban the use of PFAS chemicals in packaging for the Meals Ready to Eat (MREs) servicemembers eat when deployed in combat and for training;
• Slotkin’s CODER Act, would overhaul and modernize the DoD’s software-acquisition process, while opening the door for small and medium-sized businesses in Michigan to compete for those contracts.

Insulin costs have reached crisis levels, pricing the over 800,000 diabetic and insulin-dependent Michiganders out of their lives. Today, Slotkin announced that she will co-lead a bipartisan bill that would cut the price of most insulin products by more than 75% by:

• Giving the nation’s three makers of insulin an incentive to lower the current list price of their insulin products, which is approximately $300 a vial, to the price it was listed at in 2006, which was, on average, approximately $68 a vial.

• In exchange for lowering the price of their insulin products back to their 2006 list prices, the legislation would protect the nation’s insulin makers from having to offer any additional rebates to insurers in order to have their products covered. It would also prohibit health insurers from refusing to cover any insulin product that had its price reduced under the terms of the bill.

• If approved, the legislation is designed to end the industry’s use of drug-manufacturer rebates that are offered only to insurers to lower the cost of the prescription drugs they agree to cover, but that do nothing to help lower the price that consumers without health care coverage, or those who have not yet met their deductible, are forced to pay.

• When insurers decide which drugs it will provide coverage for each year, they often pay close attention to the size of the rebate that a drug manufacturer is offering to insurers that agree to cover their product. As the size of the rebate that insurers have come to expect from drug manufacturers has continued to grow, so too has the pressure on drug makers to increase the list price of their products in order to afford the sizeable rebates that many insurers are now expecting.

• While increasing both a drug’s list price and the rebate that a manufacturer offers along with it does little to affect either the drug maker’s or the insurer’s bottom line – the practice is having a devastating effect on millions of Americans who don’t have health care coverage, or have not yet reached their deductible, and are forced to pay the full, now-inflated list price.

Our country is facing a daunting task in protecting our northern and southern borders. Successfully intercepting illicit trafficking and unlawful crossings at the border requires a smart, multi-layered approach. New technologies present an opportunity to reduce current strains on manpower in a cost-effective way while improving our situational awareness of the border.

Today, Slotkin announced she will introduce a bipartisan bill which would require the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to create a comprehensive strategy for identifying, deploying, and integrating emerging technologies into our border security by requiring DHS to:

• Assess how it is currently using emerging technologies for border security;
• Assess existing gaps in situational awareness along the northern and southern borders;
• Identify how emerging technology programs can help fill those gaps;
• Explain how DHS plans to replace legacy programs with new technologies;
• Describe how DHS will evaluate the effectiveness of new technology programs;
• Provide an assessment of DHS’s current authorities for acquiring new technologies;
• Outline how DHS plans to conduct privacy impact assessments for emerging technology programs.

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