When I worked at Legal Aid, I worked with uninsured families who had been bankrupted by an illness and were experiencing financial hardship on top of poor health. The Affordable Care Act has significantly expanded access to health care, including children’s oral health services, and we must maintain its protections for people with pre-existing conditions and insurance subsidies for people who qualify financially. More must be done, however, to make sure everyone has access to affordable, quality health care. I am proud to be a member of the Medicare for All Caucus and will continue to work to expand coverage and make health care more affordable for all.
It is critical that we build a health care workforce that can meet our country’s increasing needs. As a leader on the Congressional Nursing Caucus I helped craft bipartisan solutions to address the nursing shortage across the country, including making sure we have safe staffing in hospitals and providing additional funding for nurse training and workforce development.
Across the country and here in Northwest Oregon, communities are experiencing the tragic and often deadly emergency of opioid abuse. I have met with parents, health care professionals, community leaders, veterans, and people from all walks of life who have shared heart-wrenching stories about how the opioid crisis is taking lives and inflicting pain on Oregon families. My report on the opioid crisis includes what I learned, what steps we’ve already taken, and my priorities moving forward. One priority is making it as easy to dispose of unused opioids as it is to get a prescription. I introduced The Safe Disposal of Opioids Act to create a grant program to help pharmacies and other qualified locations install and maintain drug disposal bins. This bill requires opioid manufacturers to fund these grants through a small fee on the opioids they sell.
Rising prescription drug costs are a burden for many Americans, particularly seniors. I have heard too many stories of seniors forced to leave a prescription unfilled or cut pills in half because of high costs. We must do more to make prescription drugs more accessible and affordable to everyone. Current law prohibits the Secretary of Health and Human Services from negotiating for lower drug prices in Medicare. We should reverse this unnecessary restriction and leverage the purchasing power of the government to negotiate better prices for medications.
I will continue to be a strong advocate for consumers and patients as we work to address prescription drug costs and improve access to affordable health care for all.
More on Health Care
The House of Representatives passed the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA), legislation to protect abortion rights in Oregon and across the country, with Reps. Suzanne Bonamici, Peter DeFazio, Earl Blumenauer and Kurt Schrader all voting in favor of the legislation.
Home care workers and consumers shared their daily lives with members of Congress to urge them to support a $400 billion investment in care that would make it easier for seniors and people with disabilities to get the care they need, and create good, union jobs for care workers. In Oregon, SEIU 503 members Gloria Arroyo Martínez and José Arroyo welcomed Rep. Suzanne Bonamici as they spent a day caring for their 31-year-old son Oscar. "Families like ours rely on care. That's why I'm asking you to fight for good union home care jobs," said Gloria.
Oregon’s entire congressional delegation on Monday urged the Federal Emergency Management Agency, known as FEMA, to help the state cope with the latest surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, by providing medical personnel. U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley and U.S. Reps. Peter DeFazio, Earl Blumenauer, Kurt Schrader, Suzanne Bonamici and Cliff Bentz all signed a letter sent to FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell. The lawmakers were following up on a request sent to FEMA by Oregon Gov. Kate Brown last Friday, when she also requested medical personnel.