Prescription for a healthier future: More choice, lower costs, American-made medicines and supplies

Op-Ed

Date: March 16, 2022
Location: Washington, DC

No parent should wake up to find their child lifeless from a fentanyl-laced drug overdose. No nurse should have to choose between losing their job or being forced to take the vaccine. No doctor should have to retire early from frustration over paperwork and bureaucratic nightmares and shortages of critical medical supplies. No patient should receive a medical bill for thousands of dollars for a minor procedure. Yet this has been the status quo for Americans' health care.

Democrats have tried repeatedly to "fix" problems in our health care system with a top-down, Washington-knows-best approach that radically transforms our health care system by handing care decisions to bureaucrats. House Republicans are pushing back against their government-run health care through the Healthy Future Task Force. Together, we are working to develop targeted solutions to the most pressing issues in health care.

Republicans are focusing our efforts on modernizing the American health care system to lower costs, keep Americans healthy, develop better therapies and cures, and empower Americans with more choices. Health is too personal to be solved by a one-size-fits all approach. An 80-year-old widow on Medicare has different health needs than a new mom or a child with cancer. Similarly, patients in rural America access care differently than in urban communities.

For too long, Democrats have offered different variations of the same outdated theme spend more money and give D.C. bureaucrats more control. The result is a government-run, one-size-fits-all health care system that offers fewer choices and worse care. We need to focus on the real and specific challenges to improving the health of Americans. The more control given to Washington D.C. bureaucrats, the less control patients have over their care.

Members of the task force are holding roundtables across the country. We are also researching topics ranging from preparing for the next pandemic to the role innovative technology could play in keeping Americans healthy and lowering the cost of health insurance with market-based solutions. Over the next several months, we will continue engaging with patients, doctors, and advocates about the most important challenges facing our health care system as we further develop and refine solutions for the American people.

One example we have already heard about is the cost of prescription drugs. In 2019, the two committees we serve on in the House released a bipartisan discussion draft to cap what seniors pay for drugs. Since then, Democrats have chosen to go alone. It is time for Democrats to stop the partisan games, abandon their partisan drug pricing scheme that would destroy medical innovation, and come back to work with us. And if they don't, ensuring more cures and lower costs for medicine will continue to be a top priority for House Republicans in 2023.

This is not our only priority for a healthier future in America. We have learned a costly lesson with supply shortages during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic about what happens when we depend too much on China for our medical supply chain needs. We need to improve our health security and safety by strengthening our supply chains and supporting our health care heroes. That means incentivizing the creation of more American-made medicines and supplies to be better prepared for future pandemics, while also reducing our reliance on foreign countries like China.

We have also heard that the flexibility to use telemedicine and new technology to treat more patients at home is something that should continue after the pandemic. The health care system should be centered around the patient and their doctor. Washington must work to ensure there is minimal red tape and distractions for the physician and payment based on value and health rather than the number of services provided.

Congress needs to take action that builds on our current health care system and improves it to address what Americans are most worried about. House Republicans are listening and will be prepared to do so in 2023.

U.S. Representative Vern Buchanan, Florida Republican, represents the 16th Congressional District where 220,000 Medicare beneficiaries live. He serves on the House Ways and Means Committee and is the lead Republican of the Health Subcommittee which has jurisdiction over Medicare and employer-provided health insurance benefits.

U.S. Representative Brett Guthrie, Kentucky Republican, represents the 2nd Congressional District and serves as the Republican Leader of the Energy and Commerce Committee's Health Subcommittee. He was also appointed to a second term as a Deputy Whip within the House


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