Congresswoman Speier firmly believes that health care is a human right and that our health care system should work on behalf of the people. Today, 30 million Americans are uninsured and an additional 40 million can’t afford their copays or deductibles. The United States is the only high-income industrialized nation in the world that does not provide health care for all its residents. As the U.S. works toward achieving universal coverage, Congresswoman Speier will continue to fight back against the Trump Administration’s attempts to roll back the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and preserve important protections for people with pre-existing conditions. She also supports implementing more affordable options for at-risk populations in the short-term, such as creating an option for older Americans who often face the highest premiums to buy into Medicare early. The Affordable Care Act marked a milestone for our country’s health care system and Congresswoman Speier supports policies to expand and improve on this landmark legislation.
Prescription drugs are increasingly out of reach for patients due to exorbitant prices. A study by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that nearly a quarter of those taking prescription drugs report it is difficult for them to afford their medication. In the first half of 2019 alone, drug companies raised the price of over 3,400 drugs, with the average increase over five times the rate of inflation. Between 2012 and 2016, the cost of insulin doubled. PrEP, an HIV prevention medication, has seen a 45 percent cost increase since 2013. Conversely, prescriptions for PrEP have declined by 18 percent since 2015, which is largely attributed to the skyrocketing cost. Mothers have been forced to cross into Canada to buy cheaper insulin for their children with Type-1 diabetes, while other patients have died after being forced to ration their medicine.
Congresswoman Speier believes no patient should have to go without life-saving medication because of corporate greed, which is why she voted in favor of H.R. 3, the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act of 2019, and which recently passed the House. This momentous legislation provides the Secretary of Health and Human Services with the authority, mandate, and tools to negotiate lower drug prices for 250 of the most expensive drugs under Medicare and caps annual out-of-pocket costs in Medicare Part D to $2,000.
H.R. 3 would finally allow the United States to be on par with other countries where pharmaceutical companies charge less for the same drugs – while still making healthy profits. The bill invests the billions in savings in public health by providing more funding for the NIH and community health centers, and strengthening Medicare by delivering vision, dental, and hearing benefits. H.R. 3 would lower out-of-pocket costs across the board by also providing Americans with private insurance access to the lower negotiated drug prices by Medicare. Congresswoman Speier has long advocated for allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies and feels hopeful that H.R. 3 will finally provide some much-needed relief to workers, families, and seniors in her district and across the country.
Medicare for All
Congresswoman Speier is a supporter of the Medicare for All Act of 2019. Under this legislation, the current system would transition to a publicly run and financed universal health care system by improving and expanding the Medicare program using a single-payer model. The comprehensive benefits would include primary and preventive care, dental, vision, audiology, mental health services, maternity and newborn care, emergency care, and long-term care. Notably, patients would not be charged co-pays or other out-of-pocket costs. Congresswoman Speier believes this will simplify our health care system as patients will have the freedom to choose their doctors, hospitals, and other providers without having to worry about cost or whether a provider is in-network.
Additionally, Congresswoman Speier has introduced legislation that would help eliminate waste, fraud, and abuse within the Medicare program. The Protecting Integrity in Medicare Act would save Medicare $3.3 billion over 10 years according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) by closing the “In-Office Ancillary Services” (IOAS) exception loophole in the Stark Law that allows physicians to refer certain services in which they have a financial interest.
Congresswoman Speier believes that every person must have access to quality reproductive health care and is committed to protecting a woman's right to choose. As a Task Force Chair of the Pro-Choice Caucus, Congresswoman Speier fights against the Republicans’ unyielding assault on a woman’s ability to control her own body. Across the country, Republicans have crafted laws designed to shutter abortion clinics, imprison doctors who perform abortions for longer prison terms than those served by many rapists, and leave women to die rather than access abortion care. As a result, 90 percent of U.S. counties lack access to a single abortion clinic. At the federal level, the Trump Administration is hell bent on punishing women with policies such as the Title X Domestic Gag Rule, which has forced Planned Parenthood and other providers to withdraw from the historically bipartisan program and lose tens of millions of dollars used to provide lifesaving care.
She is a proud cosponsor of H.R. 1692, the EACH Woman Act, to repeal the Hyde Amendment so that women’s access to abortion care is not dictated by their income or type of insurance. Congresswoman Speier is also a strong supporter of H.R. 2975, the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA). While Roe remains the law of the land, more than 400 laws have passed since 2011 to regulate or restrict abortion for medically unnecessary reasons. WHPA would protect against these burdensome restrictions. With this Conservative Supreme Court, protecting Roe is absolutely vital. Right now, 1 in 3 women of reproductive age – over 25 million people – live in a state where abortion could be outlawed if Roe is overturned.
As a leader on military personnel issues, Congresswoman Speier is the author of H.R. 2091, the Access to Contraception for Servicemembers and Dependents Act, so that all women who receive health care through the military have the same access as civilians to all FDA-approved contraception and counseling with no co-pay. H.R. 2091 also ensures that the military provides emergency contraception for sexual assault survivors and family planning education for all. This legislation was successfully included as part of the FY 2020 National Defense Authorization Act that passed the House of Representatives but was removed because of Senate Republicans’ opposition before final passage.
For Congresswoman Speier, the fight for abortion rights is personal. In February 2011, she became the first Member of Congress to share her abortion story on the House floor. She initially took to the floor in opposition to a Republican amendment that would have withheld Title X funding from clinics, like Planned Parenthood, that provide abortion coverage.
But when she reached the podium, she felt compelled to share her own story in response to lies that were being perpetrated by one of her colleagues. On that day, Congresswoman Speier shared the fact that she had an abortion procedure when she was 17 weeks pregnant. She and her husband wanted to see the pregnancy through, but the fetus was not viable and the procedure was necessary for her health.
In the days that followed, Speier received thousands of letters, calls, and e-mails from women, not just in California but around the country. They shared with her that they too were among the one in four women who have had an abortion but had never spoken out because of the stigma created around the issue. Others talked about how Planned Parenthood had become their only health care option and how pleased they were that she and her colleagues were fighting for it. Speier continues to speak out about her experience so that women will no longer be silenced or stigmatized.
Congresswoman Speier is Co-Chair of the Congressional Biomedical Research Caucus and a long-time advocate for a robust federal research budget – especially for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Investing in these deeply impactful agencies means investing in innovative research initiatives, preventative care techniques, and effective treatment programs which can be critical in the fight against devastating diseases like Alzheimer’s – the fifth leading cause of death in California, claiming nearly 11,000 lives in the state each year. Congresswoman Speier considers medical research programs as the geese that lay golden eggs for years to come. These geese lay multiple eggs—good jobs, longer and healthier lives, and lower health care spending.
In the Bay Area, this cycle is seen firsthand. California’s 14th District is a testament to the tremendous advances that can be made through the combined efforts of government funding of basic research, top rate institutions of higher learning such as UCSF, UC Berkeley and Stanford, and a venture capital industry that is willing to take risks and invest in promising new technologies. South San Francisco, once known as the “Industrial City,” has adopted a new industry and is now a biotechnology hub. It is here that cutting-edge research led to groundbreaking advances in the fight against cancer, multiple sclerosis, and HIV/AIDS. Recognizing such potential, Congresswoman Speier has worked to bolster federal funding in this arena so that entrepreneurs and scientists in the 14th District can continue to think outside of the box and lead the charge on revolutionary research and medical advancements.
Health Care for Older Americans
America’s population of individuals ages 65 and older is projected to double by 2060. To address the evolving health care needs of seniors, Congresswoman Speier supports developing a comprehensive approach to improving access to care. Senior health care provides a crucial opportunity to ensure proper care for millions of Americans who are aging, managing chronic conditions, recovering from a severe illness, or for those living with disabilities. Each year, Congresswoman Speier holds an extremely popular forum for aging adults across her district, now called “On the Move.” Experts from a wide range of industries, including health care, share information on aging, mental and physical health, and local resources available to seniors at little or no cost. Ensuring access to the proper support and resources – at an affordable cost – is critical to allowing individuals to maintain their dignity and autonomy as they age.
Cancer Research & Treatment
Congresswoman Speier is Co-Chair of the Childhood Cancer Caucus and supports efforts to increase funding for care, treatment, and research to accelerate the development of new life-saving cures in the fight against pediatric cancer. In the 115th Congress, Congresswoman Speier co-led the Childhood Cancer Survivorship, Treatment, Access, and Research (STAR) Act which was signed into law on June 5, 2018. The STAR Act is the most comprehensive childhood cancer bill to ever pass Congress and will elevate and prioritize the fight against this deadly disease at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Congresswoman Speier considers every opportunity for supporting medical research. In the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2020, Congresswoman Speier secured the reauthorization of the breast cancer research stamp that was slated to expire in December 2019. One in eight American women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime and it remains the second leading cause of cancer death in women. Since the breast cancer stamp was first introduced in 1998, more than one billion stamps have been sold in the U.S. generating over $89 million in cutting-edge breast cancer research. That includes a recent landmark study that revealed that genetic testing can show which women with early-stage breast cancer need chemotherapy as part of their course of treatment and which do not. This finding is expected to spare up to 70,000 U.S. patients a year from the cost and side effects associated with this type of treatment. Congresswoman Speier believes this is a prime example of what the federal government can achieve by funding cutting-edge research that may not be funded elsewhere.
The Open enrollment for 2020 health insurance plans through Covered California is from October 15, 2019 to January 31, 2020. To apply, visit www.coveredca.com
Remember, if you like your current plan and your personal information has not changed (i.e. your income has stayed constant, no marriages, or childbirths, etc.), and if you selected the option allowing Covered CA to automatically check your income for between 1-5 years, you will most likely be AUTOMATICALLY reenrolled in your current plan with coverage starting January 1, 2020. However, I encourage you to check out Covered California’s website to shop around because you may find a better deal! Don’t wait until the last minute to #GetCovered!
Check to see if you’re eligible for year-round special enrollment through a qualifying life event or if you’re eligible for Medi-Cal. If you qualify for Medi-Cal, you can apply at coveredca.com and enroll at any point in the year.
If you have questions, visit www.coveredca.com/get-help or call the Covered CA Service Center at 1-800-300-1506, Monday – Friday from 8 a.m.to 8 p.m. (PT), and on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. (PT).
You can also call my District Office at 650-342-0300 Mon. – Fri. from 9AM to 6PM Pacific.
Quick Links for consumers
*Note: This document was written by the Association for Health Insurance Plans and does not necessarily reflect the views of Congresswoman Jackie Speier.
Important Notes on Covered California
Affordability and Value - Covered California helps make quality health care more affordable by offering financial assistance for those who qualify.
Accessibility - Covered California gives Californians the power to access and choose the health care plan that fits their needs.
Security/Peace of Mind - Acquiring health insurance from Covered California protects Californians from the what-ifs of life.
How to enroll – Californians can enroll online, or if they need help, there is free and confidential in-person enrollment available
Immigration Status – Any immigration information Californians share while applying is not shared with immigration services.
More on Health Care
|12/10/19||Rep. Speier Applauds Partial Feres Fix in NDAA Conference Report to Allow Compensation for Victims of Medical Malpractice|
|6/11/19||Reps. Speier, DeLauro, and Thompson Joined by Public Health Experts in Demand for Gun Violence Research Funding|
|5/14/19||Speier, Cheney, Feinstein & Enzi Introduce Breast Cancer Research Reauthorization Bill|
|4/9/19||Reps Speier and Titus Reintroduce Bill to Prevent Wasteful and Harmful Medicare Spending|
|4/5/19||Speier, Shaheen Lead Bicameral Comprehensive Health Bill to Ensure Quality Reproductive Care Services for American Servicemembers|
|7/26/18||New Bipartisan ChiPACC Act Provides Better Medicaid Coverage to Children in Need|