Congresswoman Diana DeGette

Representing the First District of Colorado
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New 21st Century Cures Law is Proof That Bipartisanship Can Work Wonders, But Partisan Plans for Health Care Reform Could Undermine Important Progress

Dec 13, 2016
In The News

President Obama has just signed the 21st Century Cures Act into law. This landmark legislation makes significant investments in biomedical research. It will lead to new treatments for some of the most vexing medical challenges, including diseases that touch many Americans, such as Alzheimer’s and cancer.

But without health insurance coverage, millions of people might not be able to access the new treatments that we worked so hard on a bipartisan basis to enable under Cures. No amount of ground-breaking discoveries will save people who can’t afford to pay for treatment.

The promise of Cures is threatened by partisan plans for health insurance coverage in this country ranging from repealing the Affordable Care Act to block-granting Medicaid and converting Medicare into a privatized voucher program.

Republicans in Congress are racing to repeal the ACA without any plan to preserve people’s care. Experts at the Urban Institute estimate that nearly 30 million people could lose coverage under the Republican plan, including 588,000 in Colorado.

The ACA is not perfect. Congress can and should work together to improve it and work toward solutions that make premiums less expensive while still ensuring quality coverage.

But we must not deny health insurance to millions of people who need coverage most, especially families and patients suffering from disease. Taking this reckless step would return us to the days when people across this country had to choose between life-saving treatments and paying for groceries or the rent.

Throughout the entire Cures process, members of Congress were unified behind one goal: to modernize the way we discover, develop and deliver groundbreaking treatments to patients. Our objective was to improve patient health, restore hope and ease suffering.

We worked hard to resolve our often significant differences over this bill. Republicans and Democrats alike sacrificed and compromised in order to achieve a greater good for the American people. This strong bipartisan commitment to biomedical innovation truly represents Congress at its best.

Congress must acknowledge, however, that without access to health insurance coverage, millions of Americans will not benefit from new and life-changing innovations. In fact, they may not be able to access the medicines and care they already rely on today.

We cannot let this happen. I call on my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to preserve the gains we’ve just made in modernizing medicine in this country. In the same spirit of bipartisanship that brought 21st Century Cures to the president’s desk, let’s work together to improve health coverage in the United States.