Key provisions of U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin’s (D-Holly) six-bill Made in America Medical Supply Chain Initiative were incorporated into the HEROES Act, the newest relief package the House of Representatives will consider this week.
Slotkin’s suite of legislation is designed to reduce America’s dependence on foreign sources for critical medical supplies and equipment and ensure that America never again enters a public health crisis unprepared. Introduction of the bills follows her announcement of the initiative in April in response to desperate shortages of critical medical supplies at Michigan hospitals fighting COVID-19.
“Our early experience with COVID-19 makes clear that we must take a strategic, national-security approach to our medical supply chain, to ensure that our frontline healthcare workers have the personal protective equipment they need –– and that as a nation, we are not dependent on foreign suppliers and foreign governments to protect the American people,” Slotkin said.
Combined, the bills would strengthen “Buy American” provisions for the Strategic National Stockpile of emergency health supplies; boost American manufacturing capacity for critical medical supplies; and apply the lessons of the COVID-19 crisis to build U.S. resilience in the face of future crises.
The six bills in the Made in America Medical Supply Chain Initiative are:
• The Buy American Medical Supplies Act, which would impose “Buy American” provisions on the national stockpile and invest in surge manufacturing capacity for critical medical supplies. The bill borrows from “Buy American” and surge capacity measures that the Department of Defense uses to protect the supply chain for vital military supplies.
• The Emergency Medical Manufacturing Library Act, which would create a repository of federally approved plans and specifications for critical medical items that could help manufacturers rapidly produce those items in a crisis.
• The Strategic National Stockpile Report Act, which would require the federal official who oversees the stockpile to report to Congress on what each state requested and received from the stockpile during the COVID-19 crisis. This provision has been included in the HEROES Act.
• The Transparency Standards for the Strategic National Stockpile Act, which would require the Department of Health and Human Services to develop transparent processes for distribution of goods from the stockpile and provide the states with clear, transparent guidelines for how it will distribute goods and how to request them. A version of this bill has been included in the HEROES Act.
• The Strategic National Stockpile Equipment Maintenance Act, which would require that inventory in the stockpile be maintained in good working order. This provision has been included in the HEROES Act.
• The Government Accountability Office Study on the National Stockpile Act, which would require a GAO study on the possibility of implementing a user fee to reimburse the stockpile for items, such as antitoxins, for which it is the sole provider and for which health care providers or others may charge patients. This provision has been included in the HEROES Act.
The six bills largely follow the outlines of the framework Slotkin proposed in April, with adjustments and additions based on collaboration with colleagues on both sides of the aisle.