Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats’ signature bill H.R. 3 passed the U.S. House today, with a vote of 230-192. It has been a long road for the bill, which had been stuck up on capital hill for a while now.
During discussions today, Iowa Reps. Abby Finkenauer and Cindy Axne both spoke about amendments they had put forth on the bill, and made the case for its passing.
Finkenauer gave a heart-felt statement about a family from Dubuque, struggling to afford insulin for their daughter, and worried about the future of her care.
“Before I get to the amendment, I want to talk about why this is actually important today,” Finkenauer said, opening her time.
“We were doing a roundtable in Dubuque, where we invited folks to come and talk about their issues with drug prices and how that’s impacting their lives personally. There was a family that came; a young woman, in her teens, that came with her mom and her dad. You see, she has diabetes, and they struggle every month to figure out how they’re going to keep affording insulin and meters,” Finkenauer explained.
“In the middle of the roundtable, the young woman and her mother had to leave and go to a doctor’s appointment. As I was going around and saying thank you for coming today,” she said. “I shook that dad’s hand and he looked at me and said, ‘Please do everything you can to fight for my daughter and make sure that she is going to be able to afford the care that she needs.’ He told me he’s very worried about when she turns 26, and if she’s not on their insurance, what does that look like? Is she going to be able to keep affording it?
“He told me he wants to be able to walk his daughter down the aisle one day, at her wedding, not her funeral. I will never forget that conversation, and I will never stop fighting to make sure that we lower the cost of the life-saving drugs that so many folks all across the country, and in my district, need and rely on,” Finkenauer added. “It is why I am so proud to support the Lower Drug Costs Now Act.”
Axne spoke shortly before Finkenauer, and made the case for the amendments she proposed, dealing with red tape in the medical system.
“Nothing is more frustrating than when a doctor has to spend more time looking at their computer screen than helping our children,” Axne said. “I’ve taken time off work, only to end up sitting in a waiting rooms because the doctor is running behind, all because of a mountain of paperwork they must do for every single person they see.”
Axne proposed four amendments to H.R. 3, which would add a wider scope to the bill, creating more efficiency, cutting wait times and giving doctors more time with patients.
“I’ve also heard from constituents in Iowa, that when they go to the doctor’s office, they don’t want to feel like it’s an oil change, a quick check under the hood and then a mountain of forms,” Axne explained. “And it’s not the doctors’ fault; they have to comply with all of these administrative rules and codes.”
Axne continued to talk about people in the system and those who deal with it, adding that “everyone knows something has to change.”
“My goal is to create a grants program to help reduce all this excessive and unnecessary paperwork on doctors and health care workers. It will help doctors spend more time with their patients, including children like mine and those across Iowa,” she explained. “It will save money, because it makes required medical administration more efficient…it will cut red tape and spending.”
Meanwhile, In Iowa
As Axne and Finkenauer were on the floor speaking and preparing for a vote, Iowans across the state gathered to sing Christmas carols rephrased to a prescription drug theme outside of Senator Joni Ernst and Senator Chuck Grassley‘s offices.
Coming with the hits, Iowa Voices, Progress Iowa, AFSCME Council 61, Protect Our Care Iowa, Iowa Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, Americans for Democratic Action Iowa, Indivisible Iowa, and Iowa Citizen Action Network joined forces to sing fresh renditions of old classics, like Jingle Bells, We Wish You a Merry Christmas, Silver Bells, and Up On The House Top. See the above video for an example.
By Josh Cook