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Brady: GOP eager to work together to make health-care system better. Dems’ bill is a step in the wrong direction

June 29, 2020

WASHINGTON — The top Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee Kevin Brady (R-TX) delivered the following closing remarks in opposition to H.R. 1425, Democrats’ partisan health care bill.

Remarks as prepared for delivery: 

“Thank you, Madame Speaker. 

“Republicans support children, seniors, and patients with pre-existing conditions. 

“We created the popular Children Health Insurance Program that millions of families rely on today. 

“We created the prescription drug program in Medicare to help seniors get the medicine they need. 

“We created the first law that established protections for patients with pre-existing conditions. 

“We want people to have access to quality, affordable health care that fits their needs, not Speaker Pelosi’s. 

“And we also support cures for serious and life-threatening diseases that plague so many families and our loved ones. Eliminating the hope for those cures is why this bill is so dangerous. 

“Let me also be very clear about what isn’t in this bill, Madame Speaker. 

“We’ve heard a lot today from my friends on the other side of the aisle bemoaning the Trump Administration’s effort to root out unconstitutional laws while committing to protect people with pre-existing conditions.

“The Democrats could end this uncertainty now: bring to the floor a measure that severs the individual mandate from the rest of the ACA. Bring to the floor a legislative fix for your unconstitutional law. Bring to the floor certainty for all Americans, especially those with pre-existing health conditions. 

“But House Democrats won’t do that. No. They find the political fearmongering to be too potent in an election year weapon. So, we continue this charade. 

“Let me state it again, for all to hear: Republicans support protections for those with pre-existing conditions and would be eager to work with Democrats if their unconstitutional law, which we warned them about, gets struck down in court.

“But we cannot have a healthy society— we cannot protect Americans with pre-existing conditions— if we don’t have access to life-saving cures. And as we continue to fight COVID-19, we should be doing all we can to accelerate medical innovation, not destroy it the way today’s bill proposes.

“Democrats would force patients to choose between affordable medicines and a life-saving cure for Alzheimer’s, ALS, Parkinson’s, or cancer.

“They shouldn’t. 

“We’re not just talking about a few cures for some very rare diseases. According to the independent Congressional Budget Office and the Council of Economic Advisors under price control policies like these, we’re talking about a lot of cures. Dozens of cures lost according to CBO. Up to 100 according to the CEA. 

“The California Life Sciences Association predicts that these provisions becoming law would mean nearly 9 of 10 new drugs would never be made available – never – from their researchers and small biotech companies.

“Our country is in a time of uncertainty; millions are unemployed, and states still have deep restrictions set in place. 

“For folks who are relying on a short-term limited plan for this period of uncertainty, why do Democrats propose to make their lives harder? 

“We know that Obamacare plans are really expensive, and a lot of people can’t afford the higher premiums and the higher deductibles. Why don’t we work together to find ways to make health insurance cheaper instead of covering up the fact it’s too expensive with more taxpayer-funded subsidies?  

“Today’s vote is a messaging vote. It’s political. Politics should not control how we write health-care policy. 

“Instead we should be working on bipartisan provisions that can be signed into law. 

“We know we can lower out-of-pocket costs for Americans by cracking down on overpriced drugs.

“We can empower seniors to choose where to get medicines, which can cut the cost of chemotherapy in half.

“We can pull back the curtain on those who set drug prices, forcing drug companies to justify their increases and list their prices in their advertising.

“We can accelerate – not kill – lifesaving medical cures.

“We can permanently make it easier for Americans to deduct high medical expenses from their taxes.

“And importantly, we can work together to expand access to quality health-care plans that fit patients’ needs, instead of putting politics first and propping up Obamacare’s one-size-fits-all approach. 

“This is a dangerous time to be playing politics with patients’ health care, and I strongly urge all my colleagues to reject this game that Democrats are playing today. 

“Republicans are willing to work together to make our health-care system better, but, as with many bills that Democrats have forced us to vote on this year, today’s bill is a step in the wrong direction. 

“Thank you, Madame Speaker.”

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