As the Ranking Member of the Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Health, Congressman Pallone believes that all Americans should have access to high-quality, affordable health care and fights for legislation that will help achieve these goals.
The Affordable Care Act, or the health care reform law, is a major step towards expanding coverage, lowering health care costs and protecting patients from insurance company abuses.
In addition, Congressman Pallone uses his leadership role on the Health Subcommittee to bring drugs to market faster, make our food system safer, and support work that will advance public health. He is particularly passionate about efforts to improve health outcomes for children.
Affordable Care Act
As the Chairman of the Energy & Commerce Health Subcommittee during the 111th Congress, Congressman Pallone played a key role in writing the health reform bill and helping to guide it through the House and eventually into law. The health reform bill makes significant investments in the health of our nation while controlling costs.
Three years after its passage, the law is already having a great impact and benefitting millions of Americans. Eventually the law will expand coverage to 32 million more people and helps to lower health costs through new health insurance marketplaces where insurers will have to compete for your business.
The law includes a Patients’ Bill of Rights that builds critical consumer protections into the health care system and ends the control of insurance companies over consumers. Now, insurance companies are not allowed to drop coverage when people get sick or have lifetime caps on coverage. It stops unjustified premium hikes by insurance companies and ensures that no one with pre-existing conditions will be denied coverage.
It makes it easier to access preventive care, by eliminating co-pays for many preventative services. Young adults may now stay on their parents’ health coverage through 26. Roughly 6.6 million young adults who would not have had access to health insurance prior to passage of the Affordable Care Act are now able to be covered on their parents’ health plans.
The healthcare law strengthens Medicare by closing the Medicare Part D donut hole, which has already enabled millions of seniors to save billions of dollars in prescription drug costs. It requires Medicare to cover many preventive treatments like mammograms and colonoscopies and provides for free wellness visits. It also does more to stop Medicare fraud with tougher screening procedures, stronger penalties and new technology.
Helping to lower health costs was an important goal of the Affordable Care Act. That is why the law also includes new tax credits for small businesses to provide health coverage to its employees. While that was a significant first step, Congressman Pallone supports going even further to help our small businesses. He has introduced legislation - the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit Improvement Act - that would increase the average annual wage requirement and size of the businesses that qualify for the credit.
Learn more about the Affordable Care Act and how it is already benefitting millions of Americans: http://www.healthcare.gov/
FDA Safety and Innovation Act of 2012
Congressman Pallone introduced landmark, bipartisan legislation in the Health Subcommittee in early 2012 to reauthorize and revitalize the FDA user fee system, which is a critical investment to our nation’s public health. The bill, which was passed by Congress and signed into law by the President, reauthorizes the drug and medical device user fee programs, which will ensure that FDA has the resources necessary to review applications and give patients access to therapies at the earliest possible time.
The bill also includes a generic drug and biosimilar user fee agreements which will speed the delivery of low-cost generic drugs to patients. Generic drugs have provided more than $824 billion in savings to the nation’s health care system in the last decade, but there is a significant backlog of generic drug applications at the FDA.
The FDA Safety and Innovation Act of 2012 also includes significant improvements to the FDA’s ability to police an ever-growing global drug supply chain to improve patient safety. These provisions will give the FDA critical tools it needs to keep our medicine safer.
Congressman Pallone authored the legislation to renew the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which will provide health care coverage for 11 million children; four million more than were previously covered under CHIP. The legislation was signed into law by President Obama in February 2009. In addition, the Affordable Care Act included an extension of this program, ensuring CHIP coverage for children into 2019.
Congressman Pallone co-authored the Food Safety and Enhancement Act, which makes significant improvements to the aged food safety system by emphasizing prevention and safety measures that help ensure food is safe before it is distributed, before it reaches store shelves and before it reaches the kitchen tables of millions of families.
Congressman Pallone has introduced many bills through his leadership on the Health Subcommittee aimed at improving public health and broadening awareness of critical issues impacting our health. Congressman Pallone:
- Served as an original co-sponsor of The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. As a result of this legislation which was signed into law in January 2009, the FDA has new regulatory authority over the production and marketing of tobacco products which will save lives, improve public health, reduce the medical costs of treating smokers and, most importantly, help protect young people from an addiction that takes a tighter grip the longer they smoke.
- Introduced the Arsenic Prevention and Protection from Lead Exposure in Juice Act of 2012 or the “APPLE Juice Act of 2012, which will protect children from arsenic and lead in fruit juices by requiring that the FDA to establish standards for arsenic and lead in fruit juices. Currently, there is no federal limit of the amount of lead and arsenic found in fruit juices. Yet, there is a standard for bottled drinking water.
- Introduced the Cardiomyopathy Health Education, Awareness, Risk Assessment, and Training in the Schools (HEARTS) Act of 2013 which will provide parents, schools, health professionals much needed information to increase awareness of cardiomyopathy and SCA and enable health and school professionals to be prepared when a student faces an adverse cardiac event. Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) strikes 7,000 children a year and only 5 percent survive.
- Introduced the Family to Family Health Information Centers Extension bill, which continues the funding for family-to-family health information centers until 2016. Children and youth with special health care needs are a unique and diverse population that require access to a wide range of medical and support services to maintain their physical health, mental health, and development.
Family to Family Health Information Centers (F2F HICs) are family-staffed organizations designed to assist families of children and youth with special health care needs navigate through the health care system and gain access to the support services that are fundamental to their livelihoods. Through the tireless efforts of F2F HICs nationwide, over 940,000 families and 428,000 health professionals received free assistance and training in 2010.
- Introduced The Sudden Unexpected Death Data Enhancement and Awareness Act which would devote resources to finding the causes, raising awareness about and preventing Stillbirth deaths. Every year, there are more than 25,000 stillbirths in the United States. Many of these deaths are the result of birth defects, infections, umbilical cord problems, and chronic conditions of the mother. However, there is no known cause for as many as half of all stillbirths, leaving many parents without explanations for their loss.