McBath Votes to Lower Health Care and Drug Costs, Strengthen Protections for Americans with Pre-Existing Conditions

Legislation passed in the House today expands and protects coverage, lowers the price of medicine, and makes health care more accessible and affordable.

June 29, 2020

Washington, DC – Today, Rep. Lucy McBath (GA-06) voted in favor of legislation to protect those with pre-existing conditions, lower the price of prescription drugs, and ensure all Americans have access to quality, affordable health care. H.R. 1425, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act, passed by a bipartisan vote of 234 - 179. Today’s vote comes days after the Trump Administration filed a brief asking the Supreme Court to strike down the entirety of the ACA.

“This pandemic has shown us that every American needs access to quality, affordable health care. As a two-time breast cancer survivor, I live with a pre-existing condition every day, and there are 300,000 people in my district that live with them as well,” said McBath. “We must protect those with pre-existing conditions and ensure that every American family has access to quality, affordable health care. Today’s passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act will protect those with pre-existing conditions, lower the costs of prescription drugs, and make health care more accessible and affordable for hard-working Americans.” 

Rep. McBath has made health care a top priority during her first term in Congress. She is the lead Democratic sponsor of H.R. 5321, the Public Health Infrastructure Modernization Act of 2019 with Rep. Earl L. “Buddy” Carter of Georgia. Their bipartisan bill, introduced before a single case of COVID-19 was confirmed, passed as part of the CARES Act coronavirus response package in March of this year and provides $500 million to the Centers for Disease Control for pandemic preparedness and public health data improvement.

During this crisis, public health officials, including those from the White House and CDC, made clear that both before and during this pandemic, our public health data systems have not meet the needs of health administrators. Inefficiencies in these systems can lead to delays and impede discovery of clusters of diagnoses. Interconnected and modern data systems are imperative when it comes to fighting epidemics. 

In previous years, the CDC has faced budget cuts, information that was a driving factor in McBath’s advocacy of her data modernization bill. A month after the introduction of McBath’s legislation, the United States confirmed its first cases of COVID-19. 

Additional legislation to lower care costs led by McBath passed the House in December of 2019. H.R. 4618, the Medicare Hearing Act of 2019, provides coverage for hearing aids and services for seniors under Part B of the Medicare program. In February of 2019, McBath led the MORE Health Education Act, legislation to reverse funding cuts to education, marketing, and outreach efforts under the Affordable Care Act and assist providers and navigators in educating Americans about open enrollment dates, coverage options, and financial support available to the public. 

This latest package to bring down necessary care costs for the American people: 

  • Significantly increases the ACA’s affordability subsidies to cover more hard-working families. For the first time, no person will have to pay more than 8.5 percent of their income for a benchmark silver plan in the ACA marketplaces, and many Americans will see their premiums cut in half or more.
  • Delivers the power to negotiate lower drug prices to the American people. American families shouldn’t have to pay more for the same medicine than those who buy it overseas.  
  • Expands coverage, incentivizing states to expand Medicaid and adopt coverage for the 4.8 million Americans excluded from coverage. 
  • Combats inequity in health coverage and fights the maternal mortality epidemic by requiring states to extend Medicaid or CHIP coverage to new mothers for a full year post-partum.
  • Strengthens protections for people with pre-existing conditions.  

A fact sheet on the provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act is available here. McBath spoke on the House floor in favor of the legislation. Her remarks can be found online for download and transcribed below:  

I rise today in support of H.R. 1425, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act. As a two-time breast cancer survivor, I know how important it is to have access to quality, affordable health care, especially for those like me that have pre-existing conditions 

This pandemic has shown us that every American needs access to quality, affordable health care. Many Americans have lost their employer-sponsored insurance and found affordable health coverage outside of their grasp, and outside of their own reach. 

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act incentivizes Medicaid expansion, improves Medicaid coverage, fixes the family glitch, and ensures that every American has access to quality, affordable health care. That is our right. That is our right as Americans to have affordable health care, to be able to take care of our loved ones, take care of ourselves, and live a good, sustainable quality of life. 

There is so much work that needs to be done, but this legislation truly takes important steps to ensuring that every American has the ability to be able to have access to health coverage. I urge my colleagues to vote yes. 

I am a pre-existing condition, and in my district there are over 300,000 people like me that have pre-existing conditions. 45,000 of those in my district are people under the age of 17. We deserve to be cared for, and we deserve to have a good quality of life afforded by affordable, good-quality health care. 

Thank you and I yield back the balance of my time.