I am committed to preserving hard-fought for reforms to our health system.
As the chair of the House Prescription Drug Task Force, I am committed to bringing more oversight and transparency to drug pricing and supporting legislative and administrative solutions so that more families can afford the medicine they need.
High drug prices are not a problem with one pharmaceutical manufacturer, one class of drugs, or one disease—this problem is widespread. While we have made advances in research and treatment, an unaffordable drug is 100 percent ineffective. I have urged President Trump to use the authority he already has to encourage competition that would lower drug prices. Drugs developed with public funding should be available -- and affordable -- to the public. I am also sponsoring legislation that would allow Medicare to use its purchasing power to lower drug costs for seniors and taxpayers through negotiation.
Protecting Health Insurance Reform
I remain committed to preserving the hard-fought reforms that provided health insurance to millions through the Affordable Care Act (ACA), resisting those who seek to repeal, defund, or sabotage the ACA. Even President Trump has called the Republican healthcare bill “mean, mean, mean.” I voted against it because it removes protections for people with pre-existing conditions; brings back lifetime and annual caps on care; allows states to remove essential health benefits -- like maternity care and mental health services; and take almost a trillion dollars out of Medicaid. Most every health care professional group has come out to condemn this travesty. I stand with the American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association, the American Cancer Society, March of Dimes, and families around our Nation in opposition to this cruel bill.
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 woman'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, have strongly opposed Republican efforts to defund Planned Parenthood in their health care repeal 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 lifesaving safety net for our seniors, protecting their physical and financial well-being, and providing well-earned peace of mind after a lifetime of work.
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 two national legislative awards from AARP, which recognized my initiaitves on healthcare and efforts to ensure seniors' access to healthcare, I continue working to defend, strengthen and improve Medicare, a pillar of retirement security. The Republican bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act takes billions of dollars out of the Medicare trust funds by giving a major tax windfall to the wealthiest few and to pharmaceutical companies. I have spoken out repeatedly against these giveaways, which come at the expense of our seniors’ care.
Protecting seniors also means protecting them from fraud. 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.
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 cost can be extreme if expensive skilled nursing home care is required.
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.
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One patient got a $3,606 bill for a four-mile ride. Another was charged $8,460 for a trip from a hospital that could not handle his case to another that could. Still another found herself marooned at an out-of-network hospital, where she’d been taken by ambulance without her consent.