Freedom for Health Care Workers Act

Floor Speech

Date: Jan. 31, 2023
Location: Washington, DC


Mrs. MILLER-MEEKS. Mr. Speaker, I thank Dr. Bucshon for yielding me time.

Mr. Speaker, before I acknowledge my support for the Freedom for Health Care Workers Act, H.R. 497, I want to respond that as a physician, as a mother, as a working woman my entire life, and as a former director of public health, let me just say unequivocally that the care of ectopic pregnancy is not an abortion. That is a lie. That is a misconstruction. I want to put that to rest right now.

Now, on to H.R. 497. This overdue legislation repeals the Biden administration's invasive vaccine mandate for America's healthcare workers who have borne a significant brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As I have listened to this discourse, I thought we were back in 2020. It was deja vu all over again when we just started to have vaccines. We are not at the beginning of a pandemic. We are 2 years, almost 3 years, into a pandemic.

Even before this pandemic, rural areas in southeastern Iowa, such as in my district, were already struggling with maintaining healthcare staffing levels. Existing challenges were exacerbated by the pandemic, which were then compounded by the vaccine mandates.

Healthcare workers, if you will remember, Mr. Speaker, were lauded for over a year for going to work every single day. I was part of that, administering vaccines in all 24 counties in my district. They were lauded for going to work, putting themselves and their families at risk for a novel coronavirus of which we knew very little.

Yet, even though they put themselves and their families at risk, we are going to insult them by telling them, despite a plethora of research and data that infection-acquired immunity can be even superior to the vaccine, that we are going to demand that they be vaccinated even though they worked over a year with no vaccine available, putting themselves at risk.

We also have further data after the delta variant that the COVID-19 vaccine does not prevent transmission. Yes, there is rebound illness. Yes, it does reduce maybe illness and death, but it doesn't prevent transmission.

As a physician, I understand the importance and the meaning of the doctor-patient relationship.


Mrs. MILLER-MEEKS. Healthcare workers have a variety of knowledge and information available about the vaccine, and like any other individual, they should be able to make healthcare decisions for themselves with the guidance of their physicians. This vaccine mandate is almost malpractice.

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to support this repeal through this legislation.