Provide Affordable, Quality Health Care

 

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was signed into law on March 23, 2010. We passed the ACA to make affordable and quality healthcare available to millions of Americans who were being denied access to this basic right - and we’ve been largely successful. More than 129 million Americans with pre-existing conditions cannot be denied coverage or be discriminated against in pricing. The cost of health care has risen at the slowest rate in nearly 50 years. More than 16 million Americans have been able to access health coverage for the first time, and another 5.7 million young adults have had access to their parent’s coverage until the age of 26. There are certainly ways we can continue to tweak and improve the law, but we cannot repeal this law and take away coverage and discrimination protection from these Americans. I will continue to look at ways to improve the law, including possibilities like the creation of a public option so that all Americans have access to medical care.

One component of providing quality health care is the discovery of new treatments and cures. Our home leads the way in innovative health care research, embodying the impact of smart investments in basic research, support for world-class universities such as UCSF, Stanford, and UC Berkeley, and a venture capital sector that takes risks to invest in new technologies. I have been a consistent advocate for basic research investment from federal agencies like the National Institute of Health (NIH), Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Department of Energy (DOE), and Department of Defense (DOD). In fact, I have secured funds in the DOD budget for research into Alzheimer’s disease, traumatic brain injury, and chronic traumatic encephalopathy - three diseases that have a profound impact on our veterans and active service members.

Once we have discovered a new treatment or cure, we must ensure that Americans can afford these new treatment options as they become available. This means tackling the price of prescription drugs once and for all. I have heard too many stories of families struggling to provide loved ones with the prescriptions they need. The ACA has taken some steps to increase affordability, saving millions of seniors by closing the doughnut hole for prescription drug coverage in Medicare Part D. We must now address other issues in pricing, including pay-for-delay deals that allow drug companies to pay generic drug manufacturers to delay the release of generic versions of their drugs. We need to make sure all Americans have access to the medicine they need and deserve.