Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) delivered the following remarks at the beginning of today’s Health Subcommittee markup on 19 bills.
Excerpts and highlights from her prepared remarks:
WORKING TOGETHER TO IMPROVE PEOPLE’S LIVES
“Today is a good example of what we can accomplish when we work together.
“The subcommittee is voting today on 19 bills, the majority are bipartisan.
“And while there is still a lot of work to do, including finding policies to offset the legislation that increases spending, I’m optimistic that we will keep making progress to modernize our health care system, lower costs, and improve people’s lives.”
ADDRESSING THE DEATHS OF DESPAIR
“After a year of lockdowns, fear, stress, and isolation, our communities are battling the deaths of despair.
“I’m very concerned about the increase in mental health emergencies, especially among young adults and children.
“Overdose deaths also hit record 93,000 in 2020 during the pandemic.
“This hits home close to me. A very loved friend of mine and Team CMR just lost her sister.
“My community lost two teenagers last fall to potential fentanyl exposure too.
“I’m sure all have stories like this. Families need hope and healing.
“Today, we are moving 5 bipartisan solutions to address opioid use disorder and the use of stimulants.
“This fall, we must build on this work by making the scheduling of fentanyl analogs as schedule I permanent.”
MORE BIPARTISAN ACHIEVEMENTS
“In addition, today, the Subcommittee is advancing bipartisan solutions to unleash innovation, boost access to vaccines, and improve public health.
“I’d also like to commend the bipartisan work to extend Medicaid funding for the territories with the bill led by Representatives Bilirakis and Soto.
“I’m grateful for the hard work of my friends and colleagues Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico Jenniffer Gonzalez and Congresswoman Amata Radewagen.
“Their leadership was important as worked to reach reached this agreement.”
MORE WORK TO DO
“We still have some more work to do on the bills we’re moving, which I plan to discuss today with the Chairman.
“For example, we are missing an opportunity to unleash more innovation by the private sector to fully address social determinants of health.
“I wanted to include Mr. Curtis’s bipartisan bill with Mr. Cardenas but the Majority chose not to include it today.
“Confusion currently exists and it’s making it harder for insurance companies to address the social determinants of health of their enrollees.
“We heard testimony that Medicare Advantage plans need flexibility to provide supplemental benefits to patients to address social determinants.
“Mr. Bilirakis has a bill to do that, yet the majority refused to move it forward.
“I hope we can keep working and get a commitment to pass these two important pieces of legislation at a markup in the fall.”
CONCERN ON DEMOCRATS’ PARTISAN PLANS
“Finally, before we begin voting, I must note my concern about the Majority’s plan to spend trillions of dollars on more partisan, Washington command and control over health care.
“This markup proves we can work together. It leads to better outcomes and stronger legislation.
“Why draft and rush such a large partisan bill in secret?
“Republicans stand ready to work to lower health care costs, including prescription drug prices.
“I hope this fall doesn’t play out with another extremely partisan reconciliation package that costs many trillions of dollars.
“It hurts this committee’s rich history of bipartisan work to deliver meaningful results.
“We’re seeing the negative consequences of excessive government spending — labor shortages, consumer prices at a 13-year high, which means higher costs for gas, food, and other items.
“It’s becoming harder for families to stretch their last dollar, especially for those on fixed incomes.
“Democrats should stop this secret debate about whether to spend $3.5 trillion or more on radical programs to score political points and instead work with us to address real problems for more people to have a chance at a better life.
“Today’s markup proves what we can achieve, and Republicans stand ready to work.”