To watch Senator Capito’s questioning, click here or the image above.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Wednesday, U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, participated in a hearing on the budget request for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for FY2022. During the hearing, Senator Capito questioned HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra on the use of unspent COVID-19 relief funding, support to combat the addiction crisis, and increased efforts to detect and provide new treatments for Alzheimer’s disease.
ON REPURPOSED COVID-19 FUNDING: “I am the Ranking Member on Homeland Security [Appropriations Subcommittee]…I can’t decide if I am frustrated or grateful, but you have overseen the transfer and reprogramming of almost $3 billion within your department from COVID-related purposes. I believe testing and PPE and strategic reserve is where those dollars came from to address the migrant crisis at the border…I appreciate that your action signals to your own administration something that we have been calling for months and that is that billions of unspent COVID funds can and should be used for a more pressing need.”
ADDITIONAL SUPPORT FOR COMMUNITY BASED SOLUTIONS TO THE OPIOID EPIDEMIC: “As a citizen and a representative from West Virginia, on the opioid and overdose issue…we certainly want to be a partner when you mention that the answers are local and it can be found locally. I think our state and many sections of our state…have come forth with some tremendous ideas to be solutions to the problem that are community based, that are widespread within the community and that lift those communities. Unfortunately, the pandemic, there’s a lot of backsliding as you know so we got to get this right back on the screen. We also have, along with that, an increase in my home county of HIV which is very concerning to me. And I am hoping that the CDC, while they are in our state right now on this issue, can be a bit more aggressive there.”
ON EXPANDING ACCESS TO ALZHEIMER’S TREATMENT: “We saw most recently that a new treatment emerged and approved, tentatively I think, is targeted for people at early stages of Alzheimer’s disease and is the only drug on the market that aims to slow the brains deterioration instead of just treating the symptoms. Along with this comes with an effort that we’ve had bipartisan here in the Senate, which is the existing Welcome to Medicare initial exam, where we are empowering and trying to empower our medical professionals to begin asking questions early, to try to meet the challenges that not just that particular Medicare patient could have but also the family as you know caring for the folks with, afflicted with Alzheimer’s is very intense and very difficult for families and expensive. But in those visits we encourage screen detection, diagnosis, and other things of related dementia. I think what we have here is we have this progression of a possibility of a drug that can help.”
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