CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Virginia’5th District Representative Denver Riggleman may have been ousted in the Republican Party Primary, but he’s still at work in Congress until January 2021.
Riggleman has sponsored the Ensuring Lasting Smiles Act (ELSA) and the State Opioid Response Grant program.
The ELSA would guarantee all health plans cover medical procedures and reconstructive surgeries for congenital anomalies or birth defects.
Money from the State Opioid Response Grant Authorization would expand treatment options and provide resources for those with addiction.
Both have passed through the House Energy and Commerce committee.
“It’s amazing that during the pandemic we can get these bills through," Riggleman said.
These bills have deeper importance to Riggleman, especially when it comes to the issue of opioid addiction: “I lost my cousin last year to an overdose about three blocks from me, and it was just devastating to the family and it’s something that hits every single family when we talk about opioid addiction," he said.
Rep. Riggleman is also ecstatic about the positive impact that ELSA could have on families that wouldn’t be able to cover necessary surgery and medical expenses otherwise.
“To see these children, they’re going to be able to have surgery, to have teeth, to be able to eat... I’m so happy that we can close the loopholes for those children with congenital deformities," he said.
Riggleman says he worked with two Democrats on these committees. He believes this is just one example of how being willing to work with others, no matter their views, can still produce great results.
Congressman Riggleman’s Ensuring Lasting Smiles Act and State Opioid Response Grant Authorization Act Pass House Energy and Commerce Committee
Washington D.C. – Two pieces of legislation sponsored by Congressman Denver Riggleman passed through the House Energy and Commerce Committee today. The Ensuring Lasting Smiles Act (H.R.1379) and the State Opioid Response Grant Authorization Act (H.R.2466) were included in a markup today by the Energy and Commerce Committee. Congressman Riggleman is the Republican lead on the Ensuring Lasting Smiles Act and worked to craft the State Opioid Response Grant Authorization Act as a member of the Freshman Working Group on Addiction.
The Ensuring Lasting Smiles Act would ensure children born with congenital anomalies are able to receive the oral and dental care they need. The bill closes a coverage gap insurance companies use to deny certain procedures that are necessary for proper care.
“ELSA would ensure all health plans cover medically necessary services, including reconstructive surgeries that are a result of congenital anomalies or birth defects,” said Congressman Riggleman. “If enacted, this life-changing bill will allow the families the opportunity to save for their children’s college tuition rather than spend money on reconstructive surgery.”
The State Opioid Response Authorization Act also passed through the markup. The money distributed through these grants has helped to provide additional treatment beds, hire the workforce necessary to expand treatment and recovery options, bridge gaps identified in systems of care, support robust prevention campaigns, as well as many other responses.
“I am happy to see H.R. 2466 pass the House Energy & Commerce Committee today,” said Congressman Riggleman. “Funding the State Opioid Response Grant program is a critical step in the fight against the opioid epidemic. This program has helped thousands of Americans who struggle with addiction. Members of my family have been personally affected by the opioid crisis and I know the toll it takes on those affected and the people who love them. I am proud to co-lead this legislation that will go a long way to help those in need.”
The Ensuring Lasting Smiles Act is co-lead by Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN) and Rep. Riggleman (R-VA). It is co-sponsored by 310 Members of Congress. The State Opioid Response Grant Authorization Act is co-lead by Rep. David Trone (D-MD), Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-VA), Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-ND), and Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ) and is co-sponsored by 69 Members of Congress.