Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin (D-Holly) is proposing a series of bills that she says would strengthen the U.S. capacity for critical medical supplies.
“We need to start thinking about the medical supply chain and the prescription drug supply chain as a homeland security asset.” — Rep. Elissa Slotkin, (D-Holly)
Slotkin’s plan, a series of three bills called “Made in America Medical Supply Chain Initiative,” would create a library of medical equipment blueprints for companies to access and place the national stockpile of medical supplies under Department of Defense control. Slotkin says it would also require medical supplies to be sourced domestically, similar to how the military procures equipment.
“We need to start thinking about the medical supply chain and the prescription drug supply chain as a homeland security asset,” Slotkin said. “In order to protect ourselves, we need to have real availability and predictability on the supply chain of medical supplies.”
Shortages of medical supplies like ventilators and personal protective equipment for healthcare workers have slowed the response to COVID-19.
“We never wanted to be dependent on China or Germany or somewhere else to produce our military hardware.”
Slotkin, who previously worked for the Department of Defense under the Obama administration, said military procurement is one parallel she sees for ensuring an adequate supply or medical equipment.
“We never wanted to be dependent on China or Germany or somewhere else to produce our military hardware, so we have very strong ‘Buy America’ provisions on that,” Slotkin said. “That’s why so much of it is still made here in the United States.”
The proposal would also create a library of blueprints for medical supplies to help companies and other organizations build crucial medical supplies.
This is “so small manufacturers around the country; universities with access to 3D printers, don’t have to go hunting and searching for the type of face mask or the type of gowns that hospitals need so desperately right now.”
Slotkin says she hopes the bills can be included in the next round of emergency COVID-19 legislation.