Fixing the Broken Health Care System
The price of health care in the United States has risen steadily for several decades. According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the U.S. spent $3.9 trillion on health care in 2017. The Energy and Commerce Committee to which I am member, has been actively examining this concerning trend and has held hearings looking at health care costs.
Americans pay too much for health care, including prescription drugs. I am committed to lowering out-of-pocket costs and strengthening transparency and accountability in drug pricing. It is time for Congress to put partisan politics aside and work on bipartisan solutions that incentivize more competition and ensure patients get the earliest possible access to affordable prescription drugs. As a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, I have supported legislation that would do just that, including:
- H.R. 19, The Lower Costs, More Cures Act – comprehensive bipartisan package of legislation designed to cap seniors’ out-of-pocket drug costs, encourage innovation of groundbreaking new cures, make insulin affordable, increase transparency, and end the subsidization of foreign health care through stronger trade agreements.
- H.R. 965, CREATES Act – prevents pharmaceutical manufacturers withholding samples of their drugs to delay patients’ access to generic competition. H.R.965 was signed into law on December 20, 2019.
- H.R. 1499, Pay for Delay Act – would make it illegal for brand-name and generic drug manufacturers to enter into agreements in which the brand-name drug manufacturers pays the generic manufacture to keep a generic off the market.
- H.R.938, BLOCKING Act – discourages parking of 180-day exclusivity by the first generic applicant which delays consumer access to lower-cost alternatives.
As we look to increase choices for health care, I have introduced H.R.2294, the Association Health Plans Act, to empower small businesses to provide their employees greater access to quality, affordable health care. By allowing small businesses to band together through association health plans, we can lower health care costs for working families.
Ending Surprise Billing
Surprise billing occurs when a patient visits an out-of-network care facility, or even when they are at an in-network facility but are seen by a doctor who is not in their network. While a hospital may be in-network, if the specific doctor or specialist is not, the patient may be left to pay the price of the treatment. On April 2, 2019, I helped lead a Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions hearing to address surprise medical billing and learn possible solutions. Additionally, the Energy and Commerce Committee advanced legislation, H.R.3630, No Surprises Act, which would eliminate surprise out-of-network billing and hold patients harmless in situations where, through no fault of their own, they receive a surprise medical bill. The bill also seeks to strike a balance with stakeholders on resolving out-of-network payment disputes.
Protecting Patients with Pre-Existing Conditions
I am a cosponsor of H.R.692, Pre-existing Conditions Protection Act, which requires health insurers to cover preexisting conditions and to accept every individual applying for coverage, regardless of the court’s decision on Obamacare. H.R.692 would prohibit insurers from discriminating against individuals based on health status factors.
I will continue to support policies and work with my colleagues to implement real health care reform and enact a truly patient-centered system with more choices and lower costs.
Fighting the Opioid Epidemic
Combating the opioid crisis is a leading priority for me and my colleagues in Congress and requires an all-hands-on-deck response. In June 2018, the House passed H.R.6, the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act, which encompasses the House’s collective effort to address opioid abuse. H.R 6 was then signed into law in October 2018. Supported by over 161 patient advocacy groups, H.R.6 is the largest legislative response to date to fight the opioid epidemic. Click here to learn more about my actions to combat this public health crisis.
Protecting Children’s Health
I supported and the President signed into law a six-year reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) – the longest in the program’s history. After multiple votes in the House I am pleased that Members on both sides of the aisle were able to come together to pass a long-term extension of this program, which assists in the health care needs of 7,000 low-income children in Michigan’s 7th district.
Additionally, I am a cosponsor and voted in support of H.R.1222, the Congenital Heart Futures Reauthorization Act, which renews critical surveillance and research programs to better understand and treat congenital heart defects. Furthermore, I supported and the President signed into law, the Childhood Cancer STAR Act, which will bolster research and treatments for pediatric cancer.
The Trustees for Medicare predict that the program will go bankrupt by 2024, resulting in immediate cuts to Medicare for seniors. Additionally, Obamacare raided more than $800 billion from Medicare.
We must keep our promise to the 50 million Americans who rely on Medicare and work to save and strengthen Medicare for current seniors and future recipients. In February 2019, I introduced legislation, H.R. 1215, which would protect future surpluses by creating a lockbox that prevents these funds from being spent on other federal programs.
Promoting Medical Research and Life-Saving Cures
Groundbreaking research and innovation are happening all around us, particularly in health care. Unfortunately, existing government rules cannot keep pace with these scientific developments and hold back the approval of new drugs and treatments for some of the worst diseases.
In November 2016, I supported the 21st Century Cures Act, landmark initiative to invest in medical research, streamline outdated bureaucracy, and expedite the development of new cures and treatments. This bipartisan effort will offer hope to the millions of patients and families who are in the midst of battling cancer and diseases and was signed into law in December 2016.
Additionally, in July 2017, I supported and Congress passed H.R. 2430, the FDA Reauthorization Act (FDARA) of 2017, which reauthorizes the Food and Drug Administration’s critical user fee programs, ensuring the agency has the tools they need to deliver safe and effective drugs, devices, and treatments, to patients more swiftly. FDARA will help keep our country on the forefront of medical innovation and is the result of bipartisan negotiations conducted by my colleagues on the Energy & Commerce Committee. In August 2017, FDARA was signed into law, P.L 115-52.
Modernizing the Mental Health Care System
Mental health issues touch every community in Michigan and we all know families who struggle with mental health issues on a daily basis. In the current system, far too many individuals are slipping through the cracks, becoming homeless or incarcerated, and not getting the help and treatment they need.
To bring long-sought reforms to our mental health care system, I supported The Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, the most significant mental health care overhaul in decades which became law in December 2016. The legislation advances significant bipartisan reforms to enhance evidence-based treatment, expand the mental health workforce, help reach underserved and rural populations, and remove barriers to care.
Health Care Websites
01/03/2019 – Sponsored: H.R.233, Medicaid Patient Abuse Prevention Act
02/13/2019 – Sponsored: H.R.1215, Social Security and Medicare Lockbox Act
04/12/2019 – Sponsored: H.R.2294, Association Health Plans Act
02/12/2020 – Cosponsored: H.R.3654, Chiropractic Medicare Coverage Modernization Act
02/28/2020 – Cosponsored: H.R.3107, Improving seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act
03/02/2020 – Cosponsored: H.R.5481, Rural Hospital Closure Relief
09/01/2020 – Cosponsored: H.R. 1379, Ensuring Lasting Smiles Act
01/24/2019 – Cosponsored: H.R.647, Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act
02/05/2019 – Cosponsored: H.R.692, Pre-existing Conditions Protections Act
02/07/2019 – Cosponsored: H.R.748, Middle Class Health Benefits Tax Repeal Act
04/09/2019 – Cosponsored: H.R.1730, Cancer Drug Parity Act
04/10/2019 – Cosponsored: H.R.2207, Protect Medical Innovation Act
05/02/2019 – Cosponsored: H.R.1948, Lymphedema Treatment Act
05/09/2019 – Cosponsored: H.R.1570, Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening Act
05/14/2019 – Cosponsored: H.R.2700, Lowering Prescription Drug Costs and Extending Community Health Centers and Other Health Priorities Act
06/13/2019 – Cosponsored: H.R.3253, Sustaining Excellence in Medicaid Act
08/30/2019 – Cosponsored: H.R.2620, Faster Treatments and Cures for Eye Diseases Act
09/19/2019 – Cosponsored: H.R.4399, Support and Value Expectant Moms and Babies Act
10/08/2019 – Cosponsored: H.R.2235, HELLPP Act
11/13/2019 – Cosponsored: H.Res.114, Expressing support for the designation of the 17th day in May as DIPG Awareness Day
12/9/2019 – Cosponsored: H.R.19, The Lower Costs, More Cures Act
02/15/2018 - Sponsored: H.R.5041, Safe Disposal of Unused Medication Act
03/15/2017 - Sponsored: H.R.5009, Jessie’s Law
05/07/2018 - Cosponsored Legislation: H.R.5695, Emmett’s Law
07/27/2017 - Cosponsored Legislation: H.J.Res. 5, to repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB)
07/24/2017 - Cosponsored Legislation: H.R. 1825, Home Health Care Planning Improvement Act of 2017
07/13/2017 - Cosponsored Legislation: H.R. 1222, Congenital Heart Futures Reauthorization Act of 2017
03/22/2017 - Cosponsored Legislation: H.R. 849 Protecting Seniors’ Access to Medicare Act
03/20/2017 - Cosponsored Legislation: H.R. 820 Childhood Cancer STAR Act
02/16/2017 - Cosponsored Legislation: H.R. 1121 Pre-Existing Conditions Protection Act
02/16/2017 - Cosponsored Legislation: H.R.807 Medicare Access to Rehabilitation Services Act