Slotkin Votes To Pass Bills To Lower Healthcare & Prescription Prices
May 17, 2019
Livingston’s County’s Democratic representative in Congress says she is fighting to defend health care as Republicans look to strike down the Affordable Care Act.
8th District Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin is in support of a 7-bill package that House Democrats passed to help reverse the Trump administration’s efforts at undermining the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare. Slotkin said the bills do a number of things, but in particular, address the skyrocketing price of prescription drugs by making it easier for generics to come to the market. The package also cuts down on short-term, or junk, plans that discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions and women who are pregnant. The third pillar, Slotkin says, is that the bills would help states set up their own marketplaces, which could lead to expanded coverage, lower costs, and more affordability.
Republicans called the package “a bailout” for the ACA and instead introduced their own bill that included only the drug-pricing measures, as well as an extension of funding for community health centers and the National Health Service Corps. They also defended Trump’s effort to increase the availability of low-price policies with bare bones coverage as making sense because such policies are all some people can get.
Slotkin said that while this package is expected to fail passing through the Senate, she believes there is hope that some of the major pieces will break off and receive new consideration. She said, “What I’m hoping, in particular, like prescription drug pricing, where we do have bi-partisan support, is there are pieces of these bills that can move through the Senate and be signed into law. The president has said positive things about prescription drug pricing. I’m someone who really believes in working across the aisle and believes in actually getting things done.”
Slotkin said that the Trump Administration has been doubling down on trying to invalidate the legal basis for the entirety of the ACA and that she thinks it is a mistake and out of step with where the average American is. She believes that health care is her generation’s problem to solve, and that nearly everyone she talks to, whether they have Obamacare or private health care, believe they are paying too much. She said that she thinks public pressure will continue to rise, and that there is likely a compromise that will have to take place. Slotkin says she hopes it can be done in the next year and a half, but that might be too much to ask for in such a politicized environment.
GOP lawmakers accuse Democrats of purposely packaging the legislation to force Republicans to vote “no,” including against its constraints on rising prescription drug prices. The growing costs of medicine are a major public concern, and Republicans said Democrats were undermining steps to make drugs more affordable by putting them in a bill they knew was going nowhere. Democrats said they wrapped the bills together so that when combined, savings from some provisions would pay for increased costs from other sections. The government would save money by paying less for generic drugs, but spend more to find consumers to purchase policies.
In the meantime, Slotkin says she will focus where there are agreements, and do everything she can to bring down the price of prescription drugs, as that’s something that affects people’s pocketbooks in the here and now. (MK)
The Associated Press also contributed to this report.