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Opinion Pieces

What a Republican-led healthy future looks like

The Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra is finally testifying before Congress this week. Republicans are eager to deliver him an important message:  Americans’ health care is personal, and Democrats’ one-size-fits-all, “Washington knows best” approach is doing little to promote a healthier future for our country.  We have proposals to help all Americans live better, healthier, and longer lives by guaranteeing access to new cures, transformational medical innovations, and lowering out-of-pocket spending on drugs. 

In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have learned a lot about the ways that we can improve our health care system. To put these lessons into action, House Republicans have created the Republican Healthy Future Task Force to develop positive, commonsense solutions to improve the health of all Americans today and in the future. 

We understand that an 80-year-old widow on Medicare has different health needs than a 35-year-old single mom. Someone living in rural America has different concerns about accessing health care than our neighbors in urban areas.  

One area in particular where the Biden administration is falling short is on treatments and cures, especially for diseases with clinically unmet needs. During his testimony before Congress,  Secretary Becerra will be forced to publicly justify why he’s let Biden’s bureaucrats block access to Alzheimer’s drugs, cut off seniors’ access to innovative medical devices, and why he’s failed to secure America’s medical supply chains.  

By contrast, our “treatments and cures” subcommittee—one of five working groups that make up the Healthy Future Task Force—has sought out real solutions. 

We have spoken directly to Americans about their health care concerns, held roundtables with doctors and researchers, and heard how the Biden administration has stood in the way of treatments that could help patients. We have developed solutions based on these conversations. 

First, the U.S. must remain a global leader in innovation and breakthrough cures, and patients must be able to access them quickly. The Biden administration recently took steps to significantly restrict seniors’ access to the first new Alzheimer’s drug in almost two decades. They also stopped a Trump-era policy to give seniors timely access to new health technologies. When Republicans take back control in Washington, we plan to prevent bureaucrats from overruling doctors’ decisions and will remove barriers patients face to medical innovations without undermining patient safety. We will prioritize giving seniors access to new innovations and diagnostics, like blood tests that can detect more cancers and infections at earlier stages significantly improving patient outcomes, extending survivability, and lowering health care costs. 

Second, during the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw the damage wrought on the nation by our reliance on China and other strategic adversaries for the majority of our nation’s personal protective equipment, pharmaceuticals, and medical devices. We can correct this. Republicans have introduced legislation that would secure America’s medical supply chains and create good, high-paying jobs in the United States in this critical sector. America can and should continue to be the world’s leader in medical innovation and advanced medical manufacturing. 

Finally, House Republicans will pass H.R. 19, the “Lower Costs, More Cures Act,” which includes 36 bipartisan provisions. Among other policies, the bill lowers costs for medicines delivered in a doctor’s office, caps out-of-pocket drug spending for seniors, and allows Americans with high-deductible health plans to pay less for certain services and prescriptions.

We can accomplish this without allowing bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. to put a price on a patient’s life. Republicans reject the Democrats’ toxic idea of rationing care for the elderly, people with disabilities, and those with chronic conditions. We believe this is fundamentally wrong – all lives are precious, have value, and deserve care. 

Our approach promises a healthier future for all and is a crucial part of Republicans’ forthcoming commitment to America that will provide the American people with a vision for a new Republican majority. 

Rep. John Joyce is a co-chair of the GOP Doctors Caucus and a member of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health, before being elected to Congress, Dr. Joyce operated a dermatology practice for over 25 years in his hometown of Altoona, Pa. Rep. Brad Wenstrup, D.P.M., represents Ohio’s 2nd District in the U.S. House of Representatives, where he serves as a co-chair of the GOP Doctors Caucus. He also serves as a Colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve and is an Iraq War veteran, where he served as a combat surgeon. Rep. Bruce Westerman is ranking member of the House Natural Resources Committee and a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. 

This piece originally ran in The Hill.