President Joe Biden signed into law Monday several bipartisan bills including one sponsored by lawmakers to improve health care for rural residents in states such as Nevada.
The Nevada Primary Care Association endorsed legislation that would allow community health centers to use federal funds to provide mobile health care units to better serve residents in rural areas of states where facilities are often hard to reach for elderly, disabled or poor patients.
U.S. Sen. Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., said the bill signed into law by the president is critical “to increase access to quality health care across Nevada and our country.”
About 111,000 Nevadans depend on community clinics for health and dental care each year, according to the Nevada Primary Care Association, which represents community clinics.
Rosen, a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, sponsored the legislation in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic that restricted access for many in less populated states.
Rosen was joined by U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, in sponsoring the Senate bill. Companion legislation was filed in the House by U.S. Reps. Susie Lee, D-Nev., and Richard Hudson, R-N.C.
“For too many people who live in underserved and rural areas, it is nearly impossible to physically get to a doctor’s office,” said Lee, who serves on the powerful House Appropriations Committee.
Allowing health centers to use mobile clinics “will help bring essential health care to people where they are,” Lee said.
Lighting, pets bills now law
Other bills signed into law by Biden on Monday include legislation sponsored by U.S. Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev., that would instruct the federal government to use efficient bulbs and lighting systems in federal facilities to save up to $15 million for taxpayers each year.
“It is yet another step we can take in our attack on climate change. Doing well by doing good,” said Titus, chairwoman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee on public buildings.
Her bill had bipartisan support in the Senate and was co-sponsored by U.S. Sens. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., and Gary Peters, D-Mich.
Titus also sponsored a bill that drew bipartisan support in the House and Senate that would require the Federal Emergency Management Agency to plan for accommodating pets when people are evacuated from floods, wildfires, hurricanes and other catastrophes.
“No one should have to risk their lives because they refuse to abandon beloved pets before a natural disaster,” said Peters, who co-sponsored the Senate version of the bill with Rick Scott, R-Fla., and Rob Portman, R-Ohio.