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Tuesday, March 15, 2022

OPINION:

At a time when prices for everything continue to surge, the last thing Americans need is to break the bank when receiving the health care and medications they need.

Sadly, this isn’t a new issue. Americans have long been demanding answers as to why health care costs and drug prices are sky-high. In fact, when I surveyed constituents in Georgia’s 12th District last year regarding their priorities when it comes to their family’s health plan, the number one answer I received was lowering costs for services and prescriptions.


As the Lead Republican on the House Education and Labor Committee’s Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Subcommittee, one of my priorities is ensuring working families have health care that works for them by fighting against Democrats’ push for more federal control — including their misguided Medicare-for-All proposals that could cost upwards of $30 trillion dollars.

Just last month, the HELP Subcommittee held a hearing on Democrats’ efforts to expand the federal government’s control in the health care system. Their radical proposals would destroy most employer-sponsored insurance plans that a majority of Americans and their families rely on and approve of. Yet despite the fact that 83% of employees in the U.S. prefer an employer-sponsored insurance plan over Obamacare, Democrats want to push more Americans onto Affordable Care Act (ACA) exchanges and throw more money at the failing program.

As I highlighted during the hearing, the bottom line is that socializing health care will diminish the quality of care, eliminate choice and ultimately increase costs.

Unfortunately, Democrats are doubling down on their socialist health care agenda. As we heard from President Biden in the State of the Union address, the Democrats are pushing a government-controlled drug pricing scheme that will only cause costs to increase in the long run.

Reducing the costs of prescription drugs should be a bipartisan issue that we can all coalesce behind; and in fact, Republicans have a plan full of bipartisan policies that could actually be signed into law. However, Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats continue to push a partisan scheme, H.R. 3, that would result in higher costs, less innovation and fewer cures—and they’re also trying to pass these provisions in their misguided Build Back Better plan. As the Trump administration’s White House Council of Economic Advisers pointed out, the bill “could lead to as many as 100 fewer drugs entering the United States market over the next decade, or about one-third of the total number of drugs expected to enter the market during that time.” This short-sighted policy will come at the expense of millions of Americans who suffer from chronic illness or disability and are relying on medical innovation to supply treatments.

Further, it would make us more reliant on foreign nations like China, despite the pandemic making clear the need to return medical manufacturing to America. If H.R. 3 was law when the pandemic first arose, the private sector would have been severely hindered from stepping up to deliver necessary medical equipment and treatments.

Thankfully, over 100 House Republicans, including myself, have championed and cosponsored H.R. 19, the Lower Costs, More Cures Act. Our legislation will encourage innovation and provide more transparency on drug prices, including the first-ever out-of-pocket cap for seniors in the Medicare Part D program and capping the cost of insulin for seniors in the Medicare Part D program. Ultimately our proposal empowers patients through more choices, rather than handing over full decision-making to the federal government. Yet Speaker Pelosi refuses to bring it to the House floor for a vote and continues to push a one-size-fits all, partisan approach.

Nevertheless, House Republicans remain focused on crafting solutions that will actually lower health care costs and drug prices, and we look forward to delivering on these goals for the American People.

• U.S. Representative Rick W. Allen, Georgia Republican, represents the 12th Congressional District and serves as Ranking Member of the House Education and Labor Committee’s Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Subcommittee. Prior to his election to Congress, he built his own successful business from the ground up.


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