I am committed to ensuring access to quality, affordable health care for all of Connecticut’s residents. Lowering the cost of health care delivery and increasing access to preventative services are key to reining in the spiraling costs of health care.
On November 18, 2013, I introduced the Women’s Health Protection Act. This legislation would protect a woman’s right to safe and legal abortion by stopping restrictive regulations and laws intended to curtail reproductive health services for women. It would prohibit laws that impose burdensome requirements on access to reproductive health services such as requiring doctors to perform tests or procedures they have deemed unnecessary or preventing doctors from prescribing and dispensing medication as is medically appropriate.
I cosponsored the Medicare Drug Savings Act of 2013, which eliminates a special deal for brand-name drug manufacturers allowing them to charge Medicare beneficiaries’ higher prices for prescription drugs. The measure requires drug companies to provide rebates to the federal government on prescribed drugs.
Prescription drug treatment is a key component of any individual’s health care plan, and I am committed to increasing access to safe and affordable prescription drugs. It is unacceptable that Americans pay inflated prices for vital medications.
Currently, hospitals in Connecticut and across the country are sometimes unable to provide the care patients need because of shortages of common prescription drugs. I have joined with my colleagues to investigate this issue and support legislation that requires drug manufacturers to notify providers before discontinuing critical production lines. This advanced notice has already helped to alleviate some of the most critical shortages.
I proposed the Generating Antibiotic Incentives Now (GAIN) Act in October 18, 2011, which will help spur development of new antibiotics to combat the spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria. While antibiotics are widely used by doctors to treat common infections, an increasing number of strains of bacterial infections are immune to existing antibiotics. The GAIN Act will provide incentives to increase the commercial value of innovative antibiotic drugs and streamline the regulatory process so that pioneering infectious disease products can reach patients.
I have fought to preserve mental health coverage for children who were deprived of necessary treatment and will continue to work hard to make prompt and quality treatment for mental health issues accessible to those in need. I have long advocated for the release of the final Mental Health Parity Rule, including holding related Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the issue. On November 8, 2013, the Administration released the rule ensuring that features of insurance policies, like co-pays, deductibles and visit limits, are generally not more restrictive for mental health, and substance abuse disorders benefits than they are for medical or surgical benefits.
I am a lead sponsor of the Tobacco Tax and Enforcement Reform Act—legislation that reduces illegal tobacco trafficking, eliminates tax disparities between different tobacco products, and increases the federal excise tax rate on tobacco products. In the past, I helped secure a landmark settlement in which tobacco companies provided tens of billions of dollars to the states. This money was used, in part, to fund important new smoking cessation programs.
Elder abuse is unacceptable in any form and I am committed to supporting states in their efforts to end these crimes against seniors. I introduced the Elder Protection and Abuse Prevention Act, a bill to implement a comprehensive network of elder abuse prevention and response measures. Many provisions from the Elder Protection and Abuse Prevention Act have been incorporated into the Older Americans Act (OAA) Reauthorization of 2013, which I also supported.
I am honored to serve on the Senate Special Committee on Aging that is uniquely tasked with issues that affect our seniors. I am committed to protecting the benefits our seniors have earned, like Social Security and Medicare. Waste, fraud and abuse remain too common in the Medicare program and it is fundamentally important that these issues are addressed to strengthen Medicare for current and future generations.