WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Steny H. Hoyer (MD-05) joined House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (CA-12), Representatives Peter Welch (VT-AL), Susan Wild (PA-07), Susie Lee (NV-03), Lauren Underwood (IL-14), and health care advocates and storytellers for a press event hosted by Protect Our Care to celebrate the Inflation Reduction Act’s game-changing measures to drive down health care costs for millions of working families and seniors nationwide. Below is a transcript of his remarks:
“Thank you very much, Leslie. If you have your health, you have everything. If you don’t have your health, no matter how wealthy you may be, or otherwise fortunate you might be, you’re hurting. And if you don’t have access to affordable, quality health care, and [Speaker] Nancy Pelosi, thank you very much for everything, I think she may have left. I thank her for her leadership on adopting the [Affordable Care Act] when President Obama signed that bill.
“We have taken action.. I’m a little late, Leslie, because I had that TV interview, and one of the things was about inflation. Inflation is hurting our people. We need to respond to the costs that they’re incurring. Lower drug prices, better health care, that’s what we did. We capped insulin costs, unfortunately just for Medicare. Why just for Medicare? Because the Republicans would not support the bill we sent to them, which had capping insulin costs for everybody. So we have work to do and making sure that care, so essential for everybody, every American cares about health care. And very frankly, to the extent that we’re covered by insurance, each person’s costs will go down. We know that, it is an economic matter.
“I want to congratulate [Rep.] Lauren Underwood, because thirteen million people would have lost their health care if we hadn’t passed the Inflation Reduction Act. It was [Rep.] Lauren Underwood that said ‘We need to make sure in the Rescue Plan that we dealt with those who were between the Medicaid eligibility and the costs that they could afford under the Affordable Care Act.’ Thirteen million people were saved from losing insurance, and every Republican voted against that bill.
“I want to thank these advocates who are here, these young people who are holding up these signs. These young people are saying, ‘We thank you for acting on our behalf, putting People Before Politics.’ Very frankly, I heard the Minority Leader, the Republican Leader, give a debate about why we should not be for this bill. He must have mentioned seventeen times or more that the election was coming up in eighty-seven days, I think it was eighty-seven days at that point in time, as if that were the issue opposed to the people who needed our help. That’s why we capped insulin prices, that’s why we brought health care costs down, that’s why we said ‘let’s negotiate.’ The Veterans’ Administration has been negotiating prices for years. This is not a new and radical effort, this is an effort to say to my constituent when they come up to me and say, ‘my sister in Toronto pays one-third of the cost for a drug that they’re taking.’ How can you explain that?
“I’ll wait until the siren goes by. That’s a fire truck, not an ambulance, but it could be an ambulance. We don’t want that person to get to the hospital and say ‘I don’t have any insurance.’ Now, the hospital will treat with them, will deal with them, because we’ve made that by law. But I’m so pleased to be here, Leslie, with you and all those who support this effort to make sure that Americans’ prices come down. We’re going to beat inflation, we’re going to make sure health care is available. Working together. God bless you, thank you very much.”