Watch: A conversation on post-midterm health care policy
On Wednesday, December 7th, Axios health care editor Tina Reed and health care reporter Tina Reed led conversations looking at the top priorities, issues and challenges shaping the post-midterm health care policy landscape for the U.S. Guests included Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-Ky.), Rep. Robin Kelly (D-Ill.), and White House deputy assistant for Health and Veterans Affairs Christen Linke Young. Our View from the Top sponsored segment featured PhRMA chief operating officer Lori M. Reilly.
Rep. Robin Kelly discussed the prospects for partisanship next year and how she expects women’s health issues to play out in Congress over the next several months.
- On the prospects for partisanship next year: “I’m sure there’s going to be some partisanship, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this past election sent a message that there wasn’t the red wave, it was a red twinkle a little bit, and if New York maybe had done something different, you know, maybe some things would be different. So I’m hoping that sends a message that the American people don’t want the extremes wherever they’re coming from, and they want us to get work done.”
- On the GOP floating a national 15-week abortion ban: “I don’t think that they’re going to be successful…even if it passed in the House, but even in the House, I’m not sure, you know, we’re tight in the House, and I think that more moderate Republicans feel a little sense of freedom, I think now, I don’t want to speak for them, but they might push for it, but I don’t think that it’s going to go anywhere.”
Rep. Brett Guthrie described how the GOP health care agenda has evolved and how resolving price transparency issues are a priority for him.
- On the evolution of the GOP health care agenda: “So any kind of major overhaul of the health care system, we’re not saying it doesn’t need to be done, but what we’re saying is, what can we get done over the next two years? And so we really focused on very important things we need to do…but that was kind of the evolution of the thinking, it wasn’t that we don’t have a Republican agenda moving forward…we just wanted to deal with reality and it’s time to get some things done.”
- On price transparency: “I think that’s a bipartisan issue…we’re going to sit down with our Democrat counterparts and say these are some things we want to get done, we think can be bipartisan...where’s the delta between what we’re paying and what the pharmacy is receiving, and that’s what we want to have people have access to the information, let the market work.”
Christen Linke Young explained the White House’s health care priorities for the lame duck session and what the administration is doing to prevent a spike in the uninsured rate once the public health emergency ends.
- On White House health care priorities: “We are working closely with both chambers as we enter this end of the year period. In terms of priorities, there’s a number of issues we’re tracking. There’s of course key public health priorities that the Congress is looking to deal with around FDA and other sort of key public health issues that we’re paying a lot of attention to. There are your typical suite of Medicare extenders that are something that we need to pay attention to…and the last priority I would mention is mental health.”
- On preventing a spike in the uninsured rate when the PHE ends: “We have been focused since day one of this administration on making that process as smooth as possible, and so over the last two years, we’ve really invested a lot of effort and resources in improving the ability of Medicaid agencies and healthcare.gov to communicate with each other and to communicate directly with enrollees to ensure that when coverage transitions need to happen, they happen as seamlessly as possible.”
In the View from the Top segment, PhRMA chief operating officer Lori M. Reilly highlighted the health care issues that jumped out to voters during the midterm elections.
- “If you look at almost every poll that came out, the issues were driven by jobs, the economy, issues like abortion, health care was pretty low on the list, honestly, about 7% if you look at the ABC poll. But if you kind of break that number down in terms of health care, I think there are two issues that do jump out for people. One of which is people feeling like they’re spending a lot more on their insurance, but they’re not necessarily getting what they expect to get. And the second is the ever increasing cost of their premiums.”
Thank you PhRMA for sponsoring this event.