Healthcare costs in the U.S. are too high. Americans struggle to afford basic needs like prescription drugs and too often face crushing surprise bills after undergoing necessary medical procedures. Seniors in particular feel the weight of health expenses when they discover that the Medicare benefits they earned don’t always provide sufficient coverage.
While the Affordable Care Act instituted protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions, guaranteed essential health benefits and made some progress in lowering patients’ costs, those advancements are under attack in the courts and through regulatory actions. I chair the House Ways and Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over a great deal of our nation’s healthcare system, including Medicare. Under Democratic leadership, we are fighting to bring down healthcare costs and preserve critical existing health protections.
Our committee hit the ground running this year. The first hearing I convened as chairman focused on protecting Americans with pre-existing conditions. Nearly 130 million Americans have a pre-existing condition—anything from asthma to cancer to diabetes. Thanks to the ACA, insurance companies can no longer refuse to cover these individuals. The hearing shed light on the importance of this safeguard and the ways it provides Americans with greater peace of mind and financial security.