Congresswoman Jackie Walorski introduces bills aimed at helping veterans

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South Bend, Ind. -- Food insecurity is a reality for too many Americans. It simply means they don't know where their next meal will come from.

Indiana's 2nd District Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (R) is the chair of the Nutrition Subcommittee looking into nutrition assistance. She has been reviewing SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) for the past 13 months. Wednesday on 16 Morning News, she joined Tricia Sloma to talk about that and other issues facing Congress.

"It's looking at, you know, how do we holistically look at people and take care of them from falling through a crack," Walorski said. "We're using evidence based research from a professor right here at Notre Dame... one of the things we're really looking at is how do we help people bridge out of poverty. There's still 46 million Americans in poverty in this country."

Rep. Walorski is also working on two pieces of legislation she introduced geared toward veterans.

First, the VA Mobility Bill; Rep. Walorski says in her district, there are two businesses who make cars that are wheelchair accessible and they offer these to veterans at a reduced cost through their VA benefits. The problem, she says, is there are no set standards for the vehicle producers and veterans have come to her complaining that the bumper off their car fell off, or the wheelchair lift doesn't lift properly. Walorski says this bill would require all mobility producers to comply with a set of standards to ensure each veteran has a safe vehicle.

"Some neighbors and some good hearted folks were modifying these vehicles as a favor to veterans or a favor to the elderly and there was no standard whatsoever and in many cases it led to somebody being hurt," Walorski said. "So what we're doing is we're bringing a national standard and basically saying if you're in need of these services you have to go to somebody who's certified and has the expertise to keep you safe."

Another bill would require VA health systems to report drugs to statewide databases. Walorski says currently, VA's across the country are not required to report the amount of drugs of various substances to their statewide drug monitoring database, that pharmacists, doctors and physicians must report to that allows the state to track high amounts of prescriptions to each patient.

Walorski says she has discovered that in some cases, VA doctors are overprescribing medication to veterans like hydrocodone and oxycontin and they in turn are either getting addicted to the pain medication or selling it. This bill would require every VA facility report their narcotic levels and what is prescribed to each veterans to their corresponding statewide drug monitoring program. In Indiana, the database is called, INSPECT.