While the Affordable Care Act did not solve all of America’s unique health care challenges, the law made health care far more accessible and affordable for millions of Americans, including thousands right here on the North Coast.
The mission to bring about universal health care cannot stop with the Affordable Care Act, which is why I am a cosponsor of the Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act. It is time for the United States to join the standard set by all other industrialized countries and create a universal, single-payer healthcare system. Medicare is a strong, successful healthcare program that delivers quality services. Giving all Americans the option to participate in Medicare would expand access to affordable healthcare.
In the 117th Congress, Democrats worked hard to cap the out-of-pocket cost of insulin at $35 a month for senior citizens on Medicare. This will make a huge difference for folks who have been price-gouged by Big Pharma and forced to decide between putting food on the table or affording this life-saving drug.
I also helped pass the Lower Prescription Drug Costs Now Act, which will help bring down the cost of prescription drugs more broadly and level the playing field for patients who are paying more for their medicines than patients in other countries. This bill gives Medicare the power to negotiate directly with drug companies, and the lower prices negotiated by Medicare will be transparent so that private insurance companies can make the same prices available to their consumers. It also creates a new $2,000 out-of-pocket limit on prescription drug costs for Medicare beneficiaries. I have heard from constituents and health providers about patients who are cutting pills in half or foregoing taking life-saving medicine altogether. Having to choose between life-saving medicine and versus meeting basic needs is unacceptable.
I’ve also been a long-time advocate of increasing access to health care services in rural areas. I’ve led legislation to expand rural veterans’ access to VA health care systems, rural telehealth access, and ensure that rural areas are not forgotten in our health care system.
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