Courts, job creators, Americans agree: Repeal this bill (Sen. Mitch McConnell)

U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell delivered the following remarks on the Senate floor Tuesday regarding the need to protect jobs by repealing the unconstitutional health spending bill.

It’s no secret that most Americans opposed the health care bill that Democrats jammed through Congress last March. It’s also no secret that Democrats would like to move past it. But the fact is, the more Americans learn about this bill the less they like it, and the more urgent it becomes for those who pledged to repeal and replace it to follow through.

Opposition to the bill continues to build. And when two federal courts in a row rule that this bill is unconstitutional and we learn every day of some other way it’s not only making health care worse but also hurting jobs and the economy, it’s no wonder more Americans support repeal than oppose it, and that the percentage of those who say they support full repeal is higher now than ever. 


Seafood should be next up on FDA plate

Yesterday, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced the release of the new 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The guidelines represent another step forward for the health of our nation. 

Just as the dietary guidelines were updated based on the latest nutrition information, it is time the Obama Administration got the rest of its dietary advice up to speed. 


Next generation biologic drugs provide hope for HIV/AIDS patients

Our nation’s political capital, Washington D.C. also has the notorious distinction of being the HIV and AIDS capital of the United States, with at least 3 percent of its residents infected. This rate is higher than most countries in West Africa and exceeds the 1% cut-off that marks the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s definition of a generalized epidemic. Many patients with this disease also suffer from complications like kidney failure and anemia. New high-tech therapies for treatment of HIV/AIDs, however, have turned what was once a terminal illness into a potentially chronic, manageable condition.

Since 1987, we have witnessed the transformation of HIV/AIDS care and treatment from one drug (AZT) to over 31 drugs. Patients no longer need a cocktail of 15 pills per day in their daily regimen to function – they can now function on just a few. Given this rate of innovation, The AIDS Institute, along with other community partners, has supported legislation that would promote the flow of innovative drugs for the treatment of HIV/AIDS and other diseases and conditions. This includes support for biologic medicines, which are the new frontier for long-term management of HIV/AIDS.


New federal research – subsidizing pharma

The National Institutes of Medicine is proposing to launch a new federal research Center to help develop medicines. Dr. Francis S. Collins, the Director of the NIH, told The New York Times that the “drug industry’s research productivity has been declining for 15 years, ‘and it certainly doesn’t show any signs of turning upward.’” Dr. Collins should know since he directed the Human Genome Project for years, at the epicenter of new drug development.

Launching the Center misses the mark on what’s needed to reform healthcare.  Certainly new treatments for cancer, Parkinson’s, and pain, are important. More important are better strategies for truly caring for patients - helping patients have better lives and live with the illnesses and infirmities that afflict them. An axiom of clinical medicine is that drugs don’t cure patients, but doctors - good practitioners providing good medical care do.


Interview with HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius

This interview was recorded with Secretary Sebelius after the House voted in favor of repeal.

The Hill: Madam Secretary thank you for joining us. Do you think that public opinion on the law is turning?

Secretary: What we’re at least hearing around the country is as families begin to take advantage of the benefits that the new law creates for them they are pretty enthusiastic about what’s happening.  So I heard from a lot of parents who now have their adult children on their health plan and they tell me over and over again what a difference it makes. We heard from small businesses owners who in doing their taxes this year realize they are getting a 30-35% tax credit for the employee insurance that actually allows them to keep and retain their best employees and they are pretty excited about that so you know.  Seniors are beginning to understand that this year they get a wellness checkup as part of their guaranteed Medicare benefits or have a 50% discount coming their way for prescription drugs in the donut hole and I think as people start to connect with those benefits they are more enthusiastic about the affordable care act.  It’s not just some law that Congress passed but it really impacts them and their families in a very positive way.

The Hill: When the law was being debated why was there never a simple message like “hope and change” or something that people could really latch onto?


Stupak on steroids

Americans who were under the impression that the new leadership in the House of Representatives would focus on jobs and the economy learned the truth last week.

One day after voting to repeal a health-reform law that includes guaranteed prenatal care and the promise of no-cost contraception for women, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) declared a far-reaching anti-choice bill to be one of his “highest legislative priorities.” 


FDA should regulate tanning bed safety

As the 112th Congress starts its work in earnest and reviews issues related to health care, its members should stand strong against melanoma, the fastest growing cancer in the U.S. and the disease that claimed the life of my father four and a half years ago.

The rise of melanoma has as much to do with our society’s ignorance about the disease as it does our own government’s failure to respond to its deadly increase in incidence. Today, when we turn on our TV sets the images of bronzed and beautiful celebrities flood our screens, adorning their tanning bed rituals with catchy, comical homage’s to the joys of skin irradiation. The rallying cry of “gym, tan, laundry” from MTV’s The Jersey Shore is but one example. However, the humor fades when we consider that melanoma is now the No. 1 cancer killer of women between the ages of 30-35, and that recent studies show the use of tanning beds by individuals under 35 can increase one’s risk of getting melanoma by 75 percent. 


House-passed health care repeal will force seniors to repay government (Sens. Charles Schumer and Robert Menendez)

This letter was sent to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor from Sens. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Robert Menendez (D-N.J.)

Dear Leader Cantor,

As members of the Senate Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction over the Medicare program, we write today to express concern about the significant harms to Medicare beneficiaries that will result from repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA). 


It’s time to replace Obamacare with market-based solutions

As Republicans today offer a vote to repeal Obamacare, a major cornerstone in the Pledge to America, liberals scramble to defend their “no” vote.  The latest cry from Democrats is that repealing healthcare will increase the federal deficit. 

Only in Washington can you create $2.6 trillion in new government spending and claim to reduce the deficit.

Former Congressional Budget Office (CBO) Director Douglas Holtz-Eakin countered arguments that the CBO score supports this assertion.  Mr. Holtz-Eakin wrote in the Wall Street Journal yesterday, “Even if CBO's analysis were flawless, the authors of the ACA guaranteed a misleading bottom line. Their legislative prescriptions were written to create deficit reduction only on paper -- not in reality.”


Questionable arguments endanger new health benefits (Rep. Michael Honda)

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in fervent opposition to this reckless effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act and put insurance companies back in charge of our healthcare system, rather than patients and their doctors.  The Affordable Care Act, landmark healthcare reform legislation enacted just last year, makes health care more affordable by immediately providing small businesses with a tax credit to provide insurance coverage, and in 2014, by providing tax credits to those who need help buying insurance -- representing the largest middle class tax cut for health care in history.  Once the Affordable Care Act is fully implemented, Americans will have access to affordable health coverage in a new competitive private health insurance market through state exchanges.
Many critical benefits have already gone into effect, including bans on the worst insurance company abuses and coverage options for many Americans who have previously been locked out of the insurance market because of a preexisting condition.  Indeed, millions of American families and businesses are already feeling the positive effects of the Affordable Care Act, and many more will benefit as the final provisions are phased in over the next few years.