Expanding Access to Quality, Affordable Health Care for All Americans
The passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in March 2010 represented a milestone in the expansion of access to quality, affordable health care for all Americans. However, there is still much work to be done. There are steps we can take to improve health reform, and the landmark reform law should not be an end but a new foundation for a healthy future.
Chris' health care priorities include:
Improving the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The health reform law expanded coverage opportunities for millions of Americans. It is a significant step forward, and we should not scale back those provisions and consumer protections that are valuable to so many Americans. There are, however, still ways we can improve upon this law. As Delaware's Senator, Chris will be looking closely at its implementation to find ways to ensure that it works best for everyone and will work with his colleagues to make beneficial changes.
Protecting reproductive rights. Chris believes that decisions about a woman's health, including issues surrounding pregnancy, should be left to her and her doctor. Abortion should remain safe, legal, and rare for women regardless of their financial means. He supports Roe v. Wade and supports restoring the original rights expressed in the decision before legislation and courts began eroding them.
Ensuring access to women's health and family planning services. Chris supports public funding of all reproductive and preventative health services for women who depend on the federal government for their health care. He will continue to fight efforts to defund the Title X family planning program and Planned Parenthood. Without these programs, millions of Americans will be unable to access preventative screenings, birth control, and other health and family planning services.
Hastening the approval process for drug application reviews via the Prescription Drug User Fee Act. The Prescription Drug User Fee Act is due for reauthorization in 2012, and when that time comes Congress should enable the Food and Drug Administration to expedite the approval process for new life-saving drugs. This includes incentives to approve drugs to treat orphan diseases more quickly as well.
Providing and promoting end-of-life care. Caring for a loved one at the end of life can be emotionally and financially difficult. We need to provide more opportunities for families and caregivers to access the medical and social services available to aid and comfort them in their time of difficulty. It is unfortunate that provisions easing access to these services were removed from early drafts of the health reform law.
Make the National Institutes of Health less academic and more outcome-based. The research performed at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has led to groundbreaking discoveries. Chris believes we need to do more to ensure that NIH researchers are focused on outcomes, specifically new understanding and treatments for the diseases affecting Americans each day.