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Nancy Boyda on Health Care

Democrat


Reduce healthcare inefficiencies; take on lobbysists

I worked in the pharmaceutical industry for over 20 years, so I’m only too familiar with the inefficiencies in our system. Fully a third of every dollar spent on health care in this country goes toward paperwork: endless forms and reports devoted, in large part, to passing the buck from patient to insurer to government programs & then back to the patient again. We need only to spend our dollars more effectively--and that means taking on the lobbyists who represent the big insurance & drug companies.
Source: Campaign website, www.nancyforcongress.com, “Issues” Nov 7, 2006

Voted YES on overriding veto on expansion of Medicare.

Congressional Summary:Pres. GEORGE W. BUSH's veto message (argument to vote No):In addition, H.R. 6331 would delay important reforms like the Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics, and Supplies competitive bidding program. Changing policy in mid-stream is also confusing to beneficiaries who are receiving services from quality suppliers at lower prices. In order to slow the growth in Medicare spending, competition within the program should be expanded, not diminished.

Proponent's argument to vote Yes: Sen. PATTY MURRAY (D, WA): President Bush vetoed a bill that would make vital improvements to the program that has helped ensure that millions of seniors and the disabled can get the care they need. This bill puts an emphasis on preventive care that will help our seniors stay healthy, and it will help to keep costs down by enabling those patients to get care before they get seriously ill. This bill will improve coverage for low-income seniors who need expert help to afford basic care. It will help make sure our seniors get mental health care.

Reference: Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act; Bill HR.6331 ; vote number 2008-H491 on Jul 15, 2008

Voted YES on giving mental health full equity with physical health.

CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY:

SUPPORTER'S ARGUMENT FOR VOTING YES:Rep. PALLONE. This is a comprehensive bill which will establish full mental health and addiction care parity. The Mental Health Parity Act of 1996 authorized for 5 years partial parity by mandating that the annual and lifetime dollar limit for mental health treatment under group health plans offering mental health coverage be no less than that for physical illnesses. This bill requires full parity and also protects against discrimination by diagnosis.

OPPONENT'S ARGUMENT FOR VOTING NO:Rep. DEAL of Georgia: I am a supporter of the concept of mental health parity, but this bill before us today is not the correct approach. This path will raise the price of health insurance, and would cause some to lose their health insurance benefits and some employers to terminate mental health benefits altogether.

The bill's focus is also overly broad. Our legislation should focus on serious biologically-based mental disorders like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, not on jet lag and caffeine addiction, as this bill would include. There are no criteria for judicial review, required notice and comment, or congressional review of future decisions.

I would ask my colleagues to vote "no" today so that we can take up the Senate bill and avoid a possible stalemate in a House-Senate conference on an issue that should be signed into law this Congress.

LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Bill passed House, 268-148

Reference: Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act; Bill H.R.1424 ; vote number 08-HR1424 on Mar 5, 2008

Voted YES on Veto override: Extend SCHIP to cover 6M more kids.

OnTheIssues Explanation: This vote is a veto override of the SCHIP extension (State Children's Health Insurance Program). The bill passed the House 265-142 on 10/25/07, and was vetoed by Pres. Bush on 12/12/07.

CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY: This Act would enroll all 6 million uninsured children who are eligible, but not enrolled, for coverage under existing programs.

PRESIDENT'S VETO MESSAGE: Our goal should be to move children who have no health insurance to private coverage--not to move children who already have private health insurance to government coverage. My Administration strongly supports reauthorization of SCHIP. [But this bill, even with changes, does not meet the requirements I outlined].

It would still shift SCHIP away from its original purpose by covering adults. It would still include coverage of many individuals with incomes higher than the median income. It would still result in government health care for approximately 2 million children who already have private health care coverage.

SUPPORTER'S ARGUMENT FOR VOTING YES:Rep. DINGELL: This is not a perfect bill, but it is an excellent bipartisan compromise. The bill protects health insurance coverage for some 6 million children who now depend on SCHIP. It provides health coverage for 3.9 million children who are eligible, yet remain uninsured. Together, this is a total of better than 10 million young Americans who, without this legislation, would not have health insurance.

The bill makes changes to accommodate the President's stated concerns.

  1. It terminates the coverage of childless adults in 1 year.
  2. It prohibits States from covering children in families with incomes above $51,000.
  3. It contains adequate enforcement to ensure that only US citizens are covered.
  4. It encourages securing health insurance provided through private employer.
LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Veto override failed, 260-152 (2/3rds required)
Reference: SCHIP Extension; Bill Veto override on H.R.3963 ; vote number 08-HR3963 on Jan 23, 2008

Voted YES on adding 2 to 4 million children to SCHIP eligibility.

Allows State Children's Health Insurance Programs (SCHIP), that require state legislation to meet additional requirements imposed by this Act, additional time to make required plan changes. Pres. Bush vetoed this bill on Dec. 12, 2007, as well as a version (HR976) from Feb. 2007.

Proponents support voting YES because:

Rep. DINGELL: This is not a perfect bill, but it is an excellent bipartisan compromise. The bill provides health coverage for 3.9 million children who are eligible, yet remain uninsured. It meets the concerns expressed in the President's veto message [from HR976]:

  1. It terminates the coverage of childless adults.
  2. It targets bonus payments only to States that increase enrollments of the poorest uninsured children, and it prohibits States from covering families with incomes above $51,000.
  3. It contains adequate enforcement to ensure that only US citizens are covered.

Opponents recommend voting NO because:

Rep. DEAL: This bill [fails to] fix the previous legislation that has been vetoed:

Veto message from President Bush:

Like its predecessor, HR976, this bill does not put poor children first and it moves our country's health care system in the wrong direction. Ultimately, our goal should be to move children who have no health insurance to private coverage--not to move children who already have private health insurance to government coverage. As a result, I cannot sign this legislation.

Reference: Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act; Bill H.R. 3963 ; vote number 2007-1009 on Oct 25, 2007

Voted YES on requiring negotiated Rx prices for Medicare part D.

Would require negotiating with pharmaceutical manufacturers the prices that may be charged to prescription drug plan sponsors for covered Medicare part D drugs.

Proponents support voting YES because:

This legislation is an overdue step to improve part D drug benefits. The bipartisan bill is simple and straightforward. It removes the prohibition from negotiating discounts with pharmaceutical manufacturers, and requires the Secretary of Health & Human Services to negotiate. This legislation will deliver lower premiums to the seniors, lower prices at the pharmacy and savings for all taxpayers.

It is equally important to understand that this legislation does not do certain things. HR4 does not preclude private plans from getting additional discounts on medicines they offer seniors and people with disabilities. HR4 does not establish a national formulary. HR4 does not require price controls. HR4 does not hamstring research and development by pharmaceutical houses. HR4 does not require using the Department of Veterans Affairs' price schedule.

Opponents support voting NO because:

Does ideological purity trump sound public policy? It shouldn't, but, unfortunately, it appears that ideology would profoundly change the Medicare part D prescription drug program, a program that is working well, a program that has arrived on time and under budget. The changes are not being proposed because of any weakness or defect in the program, but because of ideological opposition to market-based prices. Since the inception of the part D program, America's seniors have had access to greater coverage at a lower cost than at any time under Medicare.

Under the guise of negotiation, this bill proposes to enact draconian price controls on pharmaceutical products. Competition has brought significant cost savings to the program. The current system trusts the marketplace, with some guidance, to be the most efficient arbiter of distribution.

Reference: Medicare Prescription Drug Price Negotiation Act; Bill HR 4 ("First 100 hours") ; vote number 2007-023 on Jan 12, 2007

Establish a national childhood cancer database.

Boyda co-sponsored establishing a national childhood cancer database

Conquer Childhood Cancer Act of 2007 - A bill to advance medical research and treatments into pediatric cancers, ensure patients and families have access to the current treatments and information regarding pediatric cancers, establish a population-based national childhood cancer database, and promote public awareness of pediatric cancers.

    Authorizes the Secretary to award grants to childhood cancer professional and direct service organizations for the expansion and widespread implementation of:
  1. activities that provide information on treatment protocols to ensure early access to the best available therapies and clinical trials for pediatric cancers;
  2. activities that provide available information on the late effects of pediatric cancer treatment to ensure access to necessary long-term medical and psychological care; and
  3. direct resource services such as educational outreach for parents, information on school reentry and postsecondary education, and resource directories or referral services for financial assistance, psychological counseling, and other support services.
Legislative Outcome: House version H.R.1553; became Public Law 110-285 on 7/29/2008.
Source: Conquer Childhood Cancer Act (S911/HR1553) 07-S911 on Mar 19, 2007

Remove restrictions on estriol (menopause medication).

Boyda co-sponsored removing restrictions on estriol (menopause medication)

A concurrent resolution expressing the sense of Congress that the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) new policy restricting women's access to medications containing estriol does not serve the public interest.

    Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That it is the sense of the Congress that--
  1. physicians are in the best position to determine which medications are most appropriate for their patients;
  2. the FDA should respect the physician-patient relationship; and
  3. the FDA should reverse its policy that aims to eliminate patients' access to compounded medications containing estriol.
Source: SCR88/HCR342 08-SCR88 on Jun 10, 2008

Other candidates on Health Care: Nancy Boyda on other issues:
KS Gubernatorial:
Kathleen Sebelius
Mark Parkinson
KS Senatorial:
Jim Slattery
Lee Jones
Pat Roberts
Sam Brownback

Pending elections:
D,IL-5:Emanuel
D,CA-31:Solis
D,NY-20:Gillibrand

Special elections
in 110th Congress:

R,GA-10:Broun
D,IN-7:Carson
D,LA-6:Cazayoux
D,MD-4:Edwards
D,IL-14:Foster
D,CA-37:Richardson
R,LA-1:Scalise
D,CA-12:Speier
D,MA-5:Tsongas
R,VA-1:Wittman
GOP Freshmen
in 111th Congress:

R,OH-7:Austria
R,OH-16:Boccieri
R,LA-2:Cao
R,LA-6:Cassidy
R,UT-3:Chaffetz
R,CA-6:Coffman
R,LA-4:Fleming
R,KY-2:Guthrie
R,MS-3:Harper
R,CA-52:Hunter
R,KS-2:Jenkins
R,NJ-7:Lance
R,NY-26:Lee
R,MO-9:Luetkemeyer
R,WY-AL:Lummis
R,CA-4:McClintock
R,TX-22:Olson
R,MN-3:Paulsen
R,FL-15:Posey
R,TN-1:Roe
R,FL-16:Rooney
R,IL-18:Schock
R,PA-5:Thompson
Dem. Freshmen
in 111th Congress:

D,NJ-3:Adler
D,AL-2:Bright
D,VA-11:Connolly
D,PA-3:Dahlkemper
D,OH-1:Driehaus
D,OH-11:Fudge
D,FL-8:Grayson
D,AL-5:Griffith
D,IL-11:Halvorson
D,NM-1:Heinrich
D,CT-4:Himes
D,OH-15:Kilroy
D,AZ-1:Kirkpatrick
D,NC-8:Kissell
D,FL-24:Kosmas
D,MD-1:Kratovil
D,NM-3:Lujan
D,NY-25:Maffei
D,CO-4:Markey
D,NY-29:Massa
D,NY-13:McMahon
D,ID-1:Minnick
D,VA-5:Perriello
D,MI-9:Peters
D,ME-1:Pingree
D,CO-2:Polis
D,MI-7:Schauer
D,OR-5:Schrader
D,NM-2:Teague
D,NV-3:Titus
D,NY-21:Tonko
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