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 $3.8 trillion on health care in 2019. As a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, I have been actively working to address this important issue and have participated in 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. I have supported legislation that would do just that, including:
- The Lower Costs, More Cures Act of 2021 – 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.
- CREATES Act – prevents pharmaceutical manufacturers withholding samples of their drugs to delay patients’ access to generic competition. The bill was signed into law on December 20, 2019.
- 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.
- 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. 4547, 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. I have worked with my colleagues on the Education and Labor and Energy and Commerce Committee to advance legislation that eliminates surprise billing and holds patients harmless in situations where, through no fault of their own, they receive a surprise medical bill. President Trump later signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 into law, which incorporated many of the policies from our legislation.
Protecting the Vulnerable and Patients with Pre-Existing Conditions
I am a cosponsor of H.R.892, 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.892 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.
Additionally, I was proud to champion the Medicaid Patient Abuse Prevention Act, which removed federal barriers so state attorneys general could investigate and prosecute cases of abuse or neglect or matter where the abuse occurred. My bill was signed into law as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021.
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, 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 Women and Children’s Health
I supported and in 2018 President Trump signed into law a six-year reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) – the longest in the program’s history, which assists in the health care needs of 7,000 low-income children in Michigan’s 7th district.
In 2020, I cosponsored the Helping MOMS Act, which improves maternal health outcomes by enabling states to let women receive postpartum coverage on Medicaid and CHIP for up to one year – up from the current 60 days limit. Additionally, in June 2021 I voted in support of H.R.482, the Newborn Screening Saves Lives Act, which will help eliminate preventable newborn deaths and severe disabilities through the increased use of comprehensive and standardized newborn screening tests.
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 2021, I introduced legislation, H.R. 1269, 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.
That is why I supported the 21st Century Cures Act in November 2016. This landmark legislation increases investment in medical research, streamlines outdated bureaucracy, and expedites the development of new cures and treatments. I also supported the FDA Reauthorization Act of 2017, which ensures the FDA has the tools they need to oversee safe and effective drugs. Both these bills were signed into law.
Modernizing the Mental Health Care System
This past year, Covid-19 and its ensuing restrictions have negatively impacted Americans’ mental health. From April 2020 to February 2021, 38-percent of U.S. adults experienced symptoms of anxiety and depression.
To increase access to mental health care, I cosponsored the TREAT Act, which would allow telehealth providers to provide care across state lines. This act would vastly increase options for patients to receive the mental health care they need. It would also accelerate the modernization of our health care system by allowing patients and providers to use digital tools to conveniently address health issues.
Health Care Websites
02/23/2021 – Sponsored: H.R. 1269, Social Security and Medicare Lock-Box Act
07/20/2021 – Sponsored: H.R. 4547, Association Health Plans Act of 2021
02/05/2021 – Cosponsored: H.R. 892, Pre-existing Conditions Protection Act of 2021
04/13/2021 – Cosponsored: H.R. 708, Temporary Reciprocity to Ensure Access to Treatment Act (TREAT Act)
05/04/2021 – Cosponsored: H.R. 19, Lower Costs, More Cures Act
07/22/2021 – Cosponsored: H.Res. 404, Expressing support for the designation of the 17th day in May as "DIPG Awareness Day"
01/03/2019 – Sponsored: H.R.233, Medicaid Patient Abuse Prevention Act (Signed into law)
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 (Signed into law)
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 (Signed into law)
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
02/15/2018 - Sponsored: H.R.5041, Safe Disposal of Unused Medication Act (Signed into law)
03/15/2017 - Sponsored: H.R.5009, Jessie’s Law (Signed into law)
05/07/2018 - Cosponsored Legislation: H.R.5695, Emmett’s Law (Signed into 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 (Signed into law)
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.807 Medicare Access to Rehabilitation Services Act