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Brady: Biden Health Budget Limits Options, Raises Costs for Americans

April 28, 2022

“The President’s budget chooses partisanship over solutions, committing to economic self-sabotage, undermining Americans’ health care, and ignoring the crises where action is desperately needed,” Republican Leader on the Ways and Means Committee Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) said before a full committee hearing with Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra on President Biden’s fiscal year 2023 budget.

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Rep. Brady’s full remarks as delivered appear below.


Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I join you in welcoming Secretary Becerra back to the best and biggest Committee in Congress, and the most effective. 


First, I want to thank you for working with the state of Texas on the extension of our 1115 waiver. As we spoke last night, this announcement will provide hospitals in Texas, including in the Valley, with the certainty they need to continue providing care to the more than 4 million Texans, including half of all the children in the state, who depend on the stability of the state’s Medicaid program. 


As we noted in our conversation last night, we are concerned about the upcoming expiration of the state’s directed payment program. We look forward to working with you on addressing that. 


Last year, Republicans expressed that, given your background and reputation on the Committee, we could work together to restore the economy, improve Americans’ health care, and address the major crises facing American families.


Since then, we’ve been disappointed. We’ve not seen the follow up and the ability to partner that we would like to see. In general, writ large from the Biden Administration, we haven’t seen that either.


We know health care often depends upon socioeconomic factors. They matter. On the economy, we are worried price increases are accelerating. Last month, [we saw prices] rising three times faster than workers’ paychecks. 


Experts point to Democrat policies, like the nearly $2 trillion partisan COVID stimulus, as the reason why America leads the world in many cases in inflation.


Today’s economic news is very troubling. Under President Biden’s leadership, our economy is actually shrinking. The President has missed four of the five quarterly economic projections.


So Americans ought to brace for slower job growth and higher prices ahead.


On health, we believe the Administration has undermined Americans’ care, increased prices, and reduced access to new, innovative treatments. Medicare is barreling toward insolvency, while seniors’ premiums have swelled.


On addressing the crises Americans face, the President’s policies have only added more fuel to the fire. Our southern border, which I know well, is overwhelmed with illegal migrants, unaccompanied minors, suspected terrorists, and smugglers of fentanyl.


The President’s budget chooses partisanship over solutions, committing to economic self-sabotage, undermining Americans’ health care, and ignoring the crises where action is desperately needed.


Democrats’ one-size-fits-all approach to health care in particular puts Washington in charge of Americans’ medical decisions.


The budget expands the so-called Affordable Care Act, which pushed up prices and cut off families from their coverage and their doctors. We’ve actually seen a lowering of life expectancy.


The Administration does nothing to address the rising costs in this budget. As a result, health care continues to be a huge issue in America, both in underserved and rural communities and in the inner cities as well, where we think there can be strong bipartisan solutions.


Extending lavish Obamacare subsidies during COVID eliminated a key incentive for people to return to work and rejoin the workforce where Main Street businesses need these workers.


The Administration has the tools to address the cost of surprise medical billing, and as we’ve talked about before, instead of following the clear letter of the law, I believe the rules out of HHS have really delayed and damaged the implementation of the historic, bipartisan consumer protection law, the “No Surprises Act.”


This committee on both sides of the aisle did a lot of hard work and deliberation to find that compromise. I believe that by wasting taxpayer resources trying to overturn Congress’s careful compromise led by this committee, those actions threaten to tip the scales and worsen patients’ access to their doctors.


I worry that the Administration has a troubling pattern of ignoring clear statutory language from Congress and acting beyond its legal authority. 


An example: the decision to ignore years of legal interpretation surrounding the “family glitch” in the ACA and the abuse of pandemic flexibilities to advance an agenda away from COVID.


If the Administration wants to address the “family glitch” issue in the ACA, come back to Congress. Let’s have that conversation. 


I don’t believe the budget does anything to address the high cost of prescription drugs. And under the Speaker’s plan, at least 342 fewer drugs will enter America’s market for our patients over the next decade.


Even Health Subcommittee Chairman Mr. Doggett noted the partisan insulin bill is “no help whatsoever” and “does not reduce the actual cost of insulin by one penny.”


I agree we need real solutions. We should work together to lower medicine costs with the bipartisan Lower Costs, More Cures Act. 


And I’ll finish with this. I’m very troubled by the Administration’s unprecedented action to limit coverage of Alzheimer’s treatments.


Ignoring the FDA’s gold standard of approval and basically singling out a whole range of drugs tied to Alzheimer’s, will have a chilling effect on other innovative medical breakthroughs. 


That’s terrible news for patients desperate for new treatments.


With that, I will enter the rest of my statement into the record, Mr. Chairman. 


I look forward to the discussion today, Mr. Secretary.