Amid Peaking Pandemic and Attacks Against Americans' Health Care, Phillips Votes to Lower Drug Prices, Reduce Premiums, Protect Pre-Existing Conditions
WASHINGTON, D.C. – As COVID-19 cases reach record numbers and the Trump Administration continues its attempt to gut existing health care law, Rep. Dean Phillips (MN-03) joined a bipartisan House majority in voting to pass the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act. The legislation represents the largest overhaul of American health care in more than a decade and expands Medicaid coverage, caps premiums for American families, negotiates lower prescription drug prices, strengthens protections for pre-existing conditions, bans junk plans, and promotes equity in health care.
After the vote, Phillips took to the House Floor, urging the Senate to join in protecting Americans’ access to affordable, high-quality health care and lifesaving medications. In a passionate speech, Phillips shared the story of his daughter’s battle with childhood cancer, and invited his colleagues in Congress to do their jobs and build a health care system that places people over profit and benefits every American no matter their age, race, gender, zip code, income, or condition:
Phillips’s remarks as prepared:
I rise today as a father, an American and a Congressman in support of H.R. 1425, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act.
I rise today as a father because health care is personal.
I know the pain of caring for a sick child. My daughter, Pia was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma when she was just 14 years old.
Parents and children who have been through the fear the hospitalizations, the chemotherapy, and the years of anxiety-evoking follow ups know the nightmare all too well because they have lived it. But Pia and our family are among the lucky ones. She survived cancer and is now a thriving 20 year old pursuing her college studies.
I know how lucky I was to be at Pia's bedside during the toughest days, and to do so without worrying about how I was going to pay her medical bills. I know, we all know, that this not the case for too many American families throughout our country.
We need this legislation because it will lower health care costs, costs that are the very highest in the entire world. And yet, our outcomes are mid-pack. We should have the highest-quality care in the world, the most efficient delivery of care in the world, and the best value in the world.
In the United States of America, the wealthiest nation in the entire world, no one should have to choose between seeing their doctor or seeing food on their table.
I rise today as an American because health care is patriotic.
I am sick and tired of Americans paying more money for less quality than other nations.
I'm sick and tired of Americans paying more money for the very same lifesaving medications than patients in other countries.
Americans are getting ripped off. And we, every single one of us in this chamber, can do something about it.
Ensuring that every American has access to high quality and affordable health care and medications is indeed a moral decision, but it is also an economic decision.
Let's not kid ourselves - we do not have a health care system in our country. We have a sick care system.
You see, we tolerate – even condone – incentives for procedures over prevention and profit over people and it’s costing us billions of dollars, bankrupting thousands of families, and surely costing lives.
We need this legislation because there is meaningful economic and societal value in ensuring that every American enjoys healthcare coverage no matter their age, their race, their gender, their zip code, their income, or their condition.
I rise today as a Congressman because finding common ground, building consensus, and fixing our broken health care system is my job.
I'm on a mission to inspire collaboration in this chamber, restore Americans’ faith in government, and I cannot imagine a better place to begin than health care.
So let's rise to this moment and improve it together.
Colleagues, we need this legislation because it will help all Americans - not red state or blue state Americans, but all Americans.
We need this legislation because no one in this country, Republican, Democrat, independent or otherwise, thinks that our health care system is working.
We need this legislation because health care is collective and this pandemic presents an extraordinary opportunity to build a true health system in this country. COVID-19 has taught us that one's health and well-being are directly dependent on the health and well-being of one's entire community. We're in this together, my friends, and we must take care of one another together.
We need this legislation because whether it's my daughter, Pia, a cancer survivor, or Cindy with diabetes in Eden Prairie, Nikki with MS in Brooklyn Park or every single mother in our country who has ever given birth to a child - pre-existing conditions are part of being human and should never be a barrier to care.
We need to pass this legislation because it is personal, it is patriotic, and it is our job. I'm grateful to my colleagues in this House for doing so yesterday and I call on our colleagues in the Senate to join us in ensuring a healthier and more equitable future for every single American.