Wisconsin congressional delegates tackle health care issues

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Wisconsin congressional delegates tackle health care issues

Two members of the state congressional delegation are stressing health care issues this election year.


U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, is finally getting his “right to try” bill signed into law. The bill allows terminally-ill patients to use treatments not approved by the FDA.

Johnson championed the right-to-try bill in the Senate, where it passed unanimously last August. It passed the House on May 22 by a 250-169 vote, where only Democratic U.S. Rep. Ron Kind crossed party lines to support it.

“Congress restored a little freedom and hope to terminally ill Americans,” Johnson said.

U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, one of two Wisconsin Democrats to oppose the bill, said the measure “sets a dangerous precedent of weakening FDA oversight by broadening access to unproven treatments.”

The House in March passed its own version of the right-to-try bill, which would have caused the Senate to pass that iteration before it could be sent to the president. But House Republicans recently signaled they would take up the Senate’s version of the legislation.

Trauma-informed care

U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Green Bay, along with U.S. Rep. Danny Davis, D-Ill., launched the Trauma-Informed Care Caucus on May 21. The bipartisan caucus aims to boost awareness in Congress of the science-based treatment used to address the cause of major public health issues, including addiction, mental health and obesity.

Gallagher said the practice creates a “unique opportunity” for elected officials “to come together and improve health outcomes for the millions of children, families, and adults across the United States who have been impacted by trauma.”

“By working together, we can raise awareness of TIC and its vital role in helping solve some of our nation’s most pressing public health issues,” he said.

Gallagher’s decision to launch the caucus is part of a wider effort led by First Lady Tonette Walker to increase statewide awareness of the approach.

Walker praised the creation of the caucus, saying trauma-informed care helps caregivers “address the root” cause of problems and “improve outcomes” for affected children.

Johnson also introduced a resolution recognizing the importance and effectiveness of trauma-informed care that cleared the Senate on May 22 with unanimous support. The senator thanked Walker for her work backing trauma-informed care since 2011, saying in a statement her efforts mean “Wisconsinites will be better equipped to support those who have experienced trauma.”


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