In New Letter, Schumer Urges Leader McConnell To Spend August Lowering The Cost Of Health Care – Dems To Introduce Legislation Designed To Lower Costs For Middle-Class Families

June 6, 2018

President Trump And Congressional Republicans Repeatedly Promised To Make Health Care “Far Less Expensive And Far Better” But Have Only Made Premiums Rise, Done Nothing To Make Prescription Drugs More Affordable For Americans

Schumer Urges Leader McConnell To Use Three Week Work Period In August To Focus On Legislation To Lower Health Care Costs For Middle-Class Families

 Schumer To Leader McConnell: Use This Time In August To Finally Get A Legislative Win For The American People Instead Of Continuing The Sabotage Of The Health Care System For Political Gain

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer today wrote to Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell urging him to use the new three week work period in August to consider legislation that Senate Democrats have introduced to lower the cost of health care and prescription drugs for American families. Despite President Trump’s repeated promises to make health care “far less expensive and far better”, he and Congressional Republicans have repeatedly sabotaged our health care system, causing insurance premiums to rise. And despite President Trump's promise that drug prices would come down under his administration, he and the Republican Congress have taken no significant actions to address rising prescription drug prices.

To address these continually rising health care costs on American families, Senator Schumer outlines in the letter several legislative proposals from Senate Democrats, including implementing transparency requirements and a drug czar to address the increasing costs of prescription drugs, enhancing tax credits and cost-sharing reduction to reduce costs in the individual health care markets, implementing a national reinsurance program to lower individual market rates across the board, allowing wider access to Medicare before the age 65, and incentivizing  the remaining 17 states to expand Medicaid. To this end, Schumer urges Leader McConnell and Congressional Republicans to work with Democrats in a bipartisan manner to help Americans secure the affordable and quality health care they deserve.

The text of the Schumer’s letter to Leader McConnell can be found below: 

The Honorable Mitch McConnell

Majority Leader

United States Senate

S-230 U.S. Capitol

Washington, DC 20510

Dear Leader McConnell: 

President Trump promised the American people health care that is “far less expensive and far better.” Unfortunately, today the situation is far worse. After 18 months of trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act and deliberately sabotaging our health care system, Republican policies have resulted in major premium increases for millions of Americans. This sabotage also has those with pre-existing conditions once again facing the prospect of denied coverage, increased costs, and medical bankruptcy. Additionally, despite President Trump’s repeated assurances that drug prices would come down under his watch, one in four Americans still cannot afford their prescription drugs and pharmaceutical stocks soared immediately after he released his drug pricing plan.

Democrats believe that health care coverage needs to be universal and more affordable. Premiums, deductibles, and the cost of care are still too high for many. To that end, I urge you to dedicate the new three-week August work period to considering legislation that would lower the cost of health care and prescription drugs.  Senate Democrats have introduced legislation that would achieve the following goals:

  1. Provide the federal government with more tools to address the high and increasing cost of prescription drugs, including allowing Medicare to negotiate the best possible deal on drug prices, creating a drug czar to stop outrageous price increases, implementing transparency requirements for manufacturers that raise prices, and ensuring that lower-cost generics are brought to market more fairly.
  2. Enhance tax credits and cost-sharing reduction to reduce what Americans pay for health insurance in the individual markets.
  3. Implement a national reinsurance program to lower individual market premiums across the board.
  4. Allow more people to access Medicare before they reach 65 years of age, while also strengthening and securing the program for current seniors.
  5. Incentivize the remaining 17 states to expand Medicaid and provide high quality, affordable coverage to more Americans.  

I request that you allow time in August for debate and votes on this much-needed legislation. Americans are ready for the president and Congressional Republicans to stop making the problem worse and instead work in a bipartisan manner to improve our country’s health care system. We believe this previously unscheduled session time can be put to good use to finally help Americans secure the affordable health care the president and Congressional Republicans have thus far failed to deliver. 

Sincerely,

Charles E. Schumer

Senate Democratic Leader

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