I am committed to preserving hard-fought for reforms to our health system.
As the co-founder and co-chair of the House Prescription Drug Task Force, I will continue to fight to not only expose the pernicious practices of healthcare companies that put profits before patients but to advance legislative solutions to lower the cost of prescription medications.
This is not a problem with one pharmaceutical manufacturer, one class of drugs, or one disease—this problem is pervasive throughout the entire industry. We have made many strides in research and treatment, but an unaffordable drug is 100 percent ineffective.
Protecting Health Insurance Reform
I remain committed to preserving the hard-fought reforms to our health insurance system achieved through the Affordable Care Act, and will resist all efforts by those in Congress who seek to repeal or defund it. Repeal would shift rights away from American families back to insurance companies, leave millions of Americans with no hope of securing insurance, force young adults off their parents' insurance plans, and return insurance company discrimination against children with pre-existing conditions. For seniors, the repeal would also mean the end of free Medicare preventive care, forcing seniors to pay new fees for everything from cancer screenings to diabetes testing and routine check-ups, and an end to 50% discounts on brand name prescription drugs for those who have reached the “donut hole” gap in coverage.
Defending Reproductive Rights
I trust women to make their own healthcare decisions, which is why I oppose efforts to block access to comprehensive reproductive care and fully support measures that help protect women’s health. I am a member of the Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus and, consistent with my 100% pro-choice voting record (as evaluated by Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America), I strongly support reproductive rights and oppose efforts to defund comprehensive healthcare clinics.
There is a steady drumbeat to overturn Roe v. Wade and take away a woman’s right to choose—even in the tragic cases of rape, incest, or dangerous health risks. Women in Texas face some of the most extreme barriers in accessing reproductive healthcare in the country. These excessive restrictions are not supported by medical experts—but they do shutter safe, comprehensive clinics and jeopardize women’s health. Instead of focusing on measures that would take important, complex medical decisions away from women, I sponsored the Women's Health Protection Act, which would make unlawful many of the types of politically motivated restrictions that take away a women's ability to choose quality reproductive care. I also sponsored the Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance (EACH Woman) Act, which protects access to reproductive care for public health insurance beneficiaries, federal employees, and in federal health services.
I have consistently rejected Republicans’ anti-choice amendments and riders on appropriation bills, and will continue to support efforts to improve access to reproductive services. I will continue working hard to protect a woman’s right to make her own healthcare decisions.
Healthcare for Seniors
For several decades, Social Security and Medicare have been a safety net for our seniors, guarding their physical and financial well-being.
Just over fifty years after President Johnson first signed Medicare into law, the program continues to provide necessary health services for so many across our country. As a recent recipient of AARP’s "Champion Legislative Leadership" award from the San Antonio AARP chapter, which recognized my efforts to ensure seniors' access to healthcare, I will continue to work to strengthen and improve Medicare, a pillar of retirement security.
My Medicare Identity Theft Prevention Act, which requires the removal of Social Security Numbers from Medicare cards, was enacted into law. With identity thieves becoming increasingly sophisticated, a little prevention can prevent a lot of heartache. Seniors who have worked a lifetime building their financial security deserve better protection.
Recently my AARP-endorsed bipartisan NOTICE Act was signed into law. NOTICE does just what its name suggests: it gives patients notice when they are about to be billed personally after being categorized as "under observation" in the hospital. Currently, a hospital may either admit a patient as an "inpatient" or keep the patient "under observation." While the distinction is often impossible to determine, particularly by the beneficiary, the economic implications can be extreme if the patient later requires expensive care in a skilled nursing facility.
Social Security isn’t a Ponzi scheme or a handout. It is one of our most successful initiatives, providing security for tens of millions of seniors. In eight decades, Social Security has never been a day late or a dollar short. It has never contributed a dime to the deficit and has generated a $2.6 trillion surplus. With modest improvements to ensure its long-term solvency, Social Security will be there for our grandchildren.