We cannot go back to the days when someone could be denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition or when you could be charged more for coverage for simply being a woman. That’s why I continue to vote to protect the Affordable Care Act and build on it.
I support getting America to universal quality coverage and the best way to incentivize competition is to give people a choice between public and private coverage options. We must make it easier and more affordable for small businesses to provide health coverage for their employees. That’s why I fought for increased health insurance subsidies in the American Rescue Plan and am pushing to extend them beyond 2020. These subsidies made coverage on the Washington Health Benefits Exchange more affordable, allowing a record 60,000 new Washingtonians to get coverage. Now, 73% of exchange customers receive monthly savings on their health plan with 42% pay less than $100 per month for their 2022 coverage.
The COVID-19 pandemic also shined a light on the ongoing inequalities in our communities and broadly exposed the health disparities that impact communities of color. We must address these disparities and reform our health care system so that every American has affordable, quality health care.
Our district has been responding to COVID-19 since the first case in January 2020, and I have been fighting since day one to get the resources our frontline responders and public health leaders need to get through this crisis.. While we are learning to live with this virus and returning to a new normal, the fight isn’t over. I will support additional resources so the federal government can provide free vaccines, test kits, and masks to protect the most vulnerable Americans, as well asresources to stay ahead of future variants and other outbreaks.
Medicare is a cornerstone of our nation’s health care system. I am committed to protecting it and will fight against any efforts to privatize or dismantle Medicare. The focus instead should be on controlling the rising costs of care and improving the quality of care our seniors receive. That’s why I voted to allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices to bring down the costs for seniors and fought to pass commonsense reforms to make it easier to get care, improve access to providers and new medical technology, and improve the quality of care for seniors.
During my time in Congress, I have focused on making health care simply work better for patients and providers. That is why I introduced legislation to streamline the health insurance prior authorization process which would give doctors and nurses more time to spend with their patients and prevent patients from waiting for the care they deserve.
I have also been successful in improving access to mental health services. Last Congress, my telehealth legislation was included in the 2020 federal budget. The bill permanently allows seniors to access mental health providers through telehealth. I will continue working to expand telehealth access across our health care system.
Washington state has a robust medical technology sector which provides quality jobs to our region and delivers innovative new products for patients. Making sure patients have access to new technologies has been a priority of mine. That is why I have introduced legislation that would fast-track Medicare coverage for breakthrough medical products, getting cutting edge technology to our seniors faster.
The way we currently pay for health care isn’t sustainable. We pay doctors and hospitals for every service they provide regardless of whether it was necessary or even effective. This isn’t improving quality and is making health care more expensive. I am working to reform the way we pay for health care so that we reward providers for keeping their patients healthier. Healthier patients lower the costs for the healthcare system.