As a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, I have the ability to consider all healthcare-related legislation before it is presented to the full House for a vote. My position on this powerful Committee allows me the opportunity to superiorly represent the constituents of North Carolina’s First Congressional District in some of the most important matters concerning America today—from Medicare and Medicaid matters to healthcare reform, I have fought passionately to ensure that my constituents are represented on this, one of the most powerful Committees of the House.
The United States spent approximately $2.2 trillion on health care in 2007, or $7,421 per person – nearly twice the average of other developed nations. Americans spend more on health care than on housing or food. If rapid health cost growth persists, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that by 2025, one out of every four dollars in our national economy will be tied up in the health system.
I was proud to join with President Barack Obama in supporting and passing the most important piece of legislation of the 111th Congress—The Affordable Care Act. This groundbreaking healthcare reform measure means that American families can rest assured that they will be better protected from the threats of medical bankruptcy. Healthcare is a right, not a privilege. Every American deserves equal access to quality, affordable care regardless of income, and my support of these reforms remain as strong as ever.
This revolutionary health insurance reform lowers costs, strengthens Medicare, guarantees insurance choices and enhances quality health care for all Americans. America’s economy and fiscal future are tied to building on what works in our healthcare system and fixing what’s broken. Some of the most important facets of the Affordable Care Act include:
- The abolition of a co-pay for preventative care,
- Ending insurance companies’ practice of denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions,
- The elimination of the Medicare Part D “donut hole,” making prescriptions more affordable for America’s seniors,
- Protection from excessive premium increases,
- Allowing young adults to remain on their parents’ insurance until their 26th birthday,
- The elimination of “lifetime limits” imposed by insurance companies—now insurers can’t discontinue coverage if they think they have “spent too much” on your care, and
- The creation of state-based health insurance Exchanges—virtual marketplaces that make it easier to compare plans and pricing, all in one place.
For more information on the Affordable Care Act including a comprehensive implementation timeline, I encourage you to visit http://www.healthcare.gov/.
Medicare has been a stable, reliable program for senior citizens, people with disabilities and those with end- stage renal disease for more than four decades, and has provided coverage for more than 45 million individuals this year. I have rebuffed the attacks of Congressional Republicans to cut funding for the essential programs of Medicare and Social Security in the interest of special interests and the wealthy. My position on this matter will never waver—Medicare stability is more important that any tax cut for any millionaire, plain and simple.
Medicaid, the joint federal-state partnership program that so many North Carolinians rely on, has been under attack in this Republican-led Congress. Medicaid makes health care services available to over 2.9 million Americans.
I have consistently supported measures that make Medicaid a more stable, more accessible program for those Americans who rely on the support that it offers. I did not support Tim Ryan’s Republican proposal to turn Medicare into a state block grant program, a measure that would have longstanding implications for decades to come. Thankfully, enough of my colleagues were as offended by this proposal as I was and it failed to garner sufficient support.
Medicaid is too important for Republicans to treat as a piggy bank for their ill-fated budget proposals, and I will continue my consistent support of the program on behalf of my constituents.