March 10, 2020

Republican Health Care Accomplishments


KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Since President Trump took office, Republicans have worked hard – and accomplished a lot – to improve Americans’ health care.
  • Republicans have repealed Obamacare taxes that hiked costs and stifled medical innovation, and they have helped get affordable generic drugs to the market faster.
  • Congress and President Trump also have protected America’s youth from harmful tobacco products and have taken action to more quickly detect Alzheimer’s disease and support families caring for loved ones with this terrible disease.

Over the last three years, working with President Trump, Republicans have made crucial progress on improving health care for American families. Republicans have not only taken steps to repeal the worst parts of Obamacare, but they have helped lower the cost of drugs, increased innovation, and more wisely invested taxpayer dollars. Republicans have also worked to help keep tobacco products out of the hands of young people and helped address the impact of the opioid epidemic on American families.

Republican Health Care Results

GOP Healthcare Accomplishments

Repealed Obamacare’s Medical Device Tax: The 2.3% excise tax on the sales of medical devices Democrats included in Obamacare harmed medical product innovation and job growth for the few years it was in place. Congress previously delayed the tax and successfully repealed it last year.

Repealed Obamacare’s Cadillac Tax: Last December, Congress also repealed Obamacare’s Cadillac tax, an excise tax on high-cost employer-sponsored plans. The tax limited an employer’s ability to offer generous benefits to recruit workers. Repealing this tax supports the employer-sponsored coverage that millions of Americans rely on.

Repealed Obamacare’s Health Insurance Tax: The health insurance tax included in Obamacare raised premiums for seniors and consumers in the commercial market. Repealing this tax will lower premiums for Americans starting next year and will allow employers to determine which health care plans fit the needs of their workers.

Zeroed Out the Individual Mandate: Effective in 2019, Congress reduced Obamacare’s individual mandate tax penalty to $0. The mandate required every American to purchase Washington-approved health insurance or pay a fine. Americans can once again make their own decisions about what kind of coverage is right for them and their family.

Repealed Obamacare’s Independent Payment Advisory Board: IPAB was supposed to recommend ways to cut costs in Medicare without harming the care of seniors who rely on the program. However, IPAB would have taken health care options from Medicare enrollees and their doctors and given it to 15 appointed bureaucrats. The president never named members to the board, and Congress successfully repealed it as part of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018.

Decreasing Young People’s Access to Tobacco Products: Congress raised the minimum age to purchase tobacco from 18 to 21. The law also applies to electronic cigarettes and vaping products, to keep these tobacco products away from children. 

Bringing Generic Drugs to Market Faster: Congress passed the CREATES Act in 2019 to help consumers get access to more-affordable generic alternatives. The law established a process that lets biosimilar or generic drug developers obtain samples from brand-name drug companies so they can develop and seek FDA approval of generics more quickly. This will help make more low-cost generic drugs available for patients.

Increasing Access to Affordable Insulin Products: Congress took steps to ensure more affordable versions of insulin are available to American patients faster. The Affordable Insulin Approvals Now Act requires the Food and Drug Administration to complete review of any generic drug application, such as an insulin generic, under review even after the planned March 2020 cutoff date. The new law will help lower the cost of insulin by speeding up the approval process for generic insulin products.

Right Rebate Act: Congress closed a loophole in Medicaid that allowed drug manufacturers to misclassify Medicaid drugs and avoid paying higher rebates. The law helps the Department of Health and Human Services better monitor manufacturers participating in the drug rebate program and impose civil penalties on manufacturers who misclassify their drugs. This will help lower the cost of drugs for patients and save taxpayer dollars.

Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness and Advancing Innovation Act of 2019: The law reauthorized programs ensuring the nation is prepared for, and equipped to respond to, public health emergencies like coronavirus, Ebola, and Zika. It approved new uses for the Public Health Emergency Fund during public health emergencies.

Responding to Alzheimer’s Disease: Congress passed the BOLD Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act, and President Trump signed it into law, to improve the nation’s response to Alzheimer’s disease. The law includes provisions to help state and local health departments better address the disease with early detection and diagnosis. It also includes provisions to support caregivers for families affected by the disease. 

Reauthorized the Older Americans Act: The Older Americans Act was reauthorized by the Senate to provide home and community-based programs the resources they need to provide nutritional services, caregiver support, senior centers, and transportation services for our nation’s seniors. This legislation helps seniors remain in their homes and communities longer, keeping them healthy and safe, and delaying their need for expensive institutional care.  

Addressing the Opioid Epidemic: Congress passed, and President Trump signed into law, the SUPPORT Act to help respond to the opioid crisis. The law includes provisions to ensure the health care workforce is better trained in addiction medicine so that these types of medications are appropriately delivered. The law also authorized funding to help states and communities fight the epidemic, increased patient access to addiction treatment and services at recovery centers, and improved the detection of illegal imports of drugs like fentanyl.   

Streamlining Drug Innovation: The Senate passed legislation amending the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to improve the regulation of over-the-counter drug products and bring affordable alternatives to market faster. This could allow manufacturers of updated or new OTC drugs to get approval more efficiently while maintaining safety standards for evaluating and monitoring products. 

Investing in Medical Research: Since Republicans took control of the Senate five years ago, funding for the National Institutes of Health has increased by 39%. Most recently, Congress appropriated nearly $42 billion for NIH, a $2.6 billion increase this year. These funds are critical for addressing a large number of illnesses including Alzheimer’s, HIV/AIDs, and childhood cancer. The funding also will target specific research on opioid addiction and developing alternative treatments for pain and addiction.

Speeding up Approval of New Drugs and Devices: Congress passed the FDA Reauthorization Act of 2017, which allows FDA to help bring new treatments and medical devices to patients quickly and safely.

Extended CHIP: Congress extended funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, a federal and state partnership to ensure low-income children have access to health coverage through fiscal year 2027.    

Strengthened Medicare Advantage: Congress passed a chronic care package to allow Medicare beneficiaries with multiple chronic conditions to access telehealth and receive more supplemental benefits. The bill provides additional flexibility for Medicare Advantage plans, allowing them to better tailor benefits to the specific needs of their consumers.

Issue Tag: Health Care