One of the biggest challenges we confront as a state and nation is the ever increasing cost of healthcare.  During my years in public service, I have heard from thousands of Delaware families and small businesses whose stories illustrate the need for serious changes to our healthcare system.  We must tackle this problem from many angles. This means creating better health outcomes and reducing duplicative care by using electronic medical records. It means ensuring that more Delawareans have access to nutritious foods, and rooting out the waste and fraud that costs Medicare billions of dollars each year.  In addition, we must find ways to implement the systemic changes necessary to bring down the overall cost of healthcare, which is rising much faster than inflation. The Affordable Care Act was an important first step in improving access to care and quality of care for more Americans, but there is still work to be done.

  • Curbing healthcare costs: Healthcare premiums have doubled in the last ten years, and employee contributions have gone up 250 percent. At the same time, the amount the government spends on Medicare and Medicaid is set to increase at four times the rate of inflation over the next ten years. Both for individuals, and for government, these rising costs are unacceptable, and unsustainable. In the 2010 fiscal year, Medicare paid an estimated $50 billion in improper payments. Every year, these programs also lose tens of billions of dollars more due to fraud.  I’ve introduced legislation, the Preventing and Reducing Improper Medicare and Medicaid Expenditures Act (PRIME Act) to crack down on waste, fraud, and abuse in Medicare and Medicaid, in addition to helping rein in costs. I will continue to look for ways to reduce the cost of healthcare through the increased use of medical technology, promoting coordination of care, and experimenting with new funding mechanisms that encourage providers to focus on the quality of the healthcare they deliver, not the quantity.

  • Prevention:  Prevention is a critical tool to improving health outcomes and driving down costs. As Congressman, I have rejected attempts to gut the Prevention and Public Health Fund, which was created by the Affordable Care Act to support local efforts to prevent illness and promote wellness. I have supported the efforts of those in Delaware, like Nemours, to combat obesity, particularly among children. I will continue to look for opportunities to invest in wellness, prevention, and early detection of illnesses in order to maintain a healthy, productive population.

  • Ending drug shortages: Since 2005, the number of drug shortages in the United States has quadrupled, and cancer patients have been disproportionately impacted by this troubling trend. We must ensure that Americans have access to the critical drugs they need to stay healthy and fight back against deadly diseases. Last year, I authored legislation, The Drug Shortage Prevention Act, which brings more efficiency to the drug manufacturing and distribution processes and requires the FDA to take action to prevent drug shortage problems before they begin impacting patients. Last July, President Obama signed the majority of my legislation into law.

  • Eliminating health disparities: Minorities in our country are disproportionately affected by illnesses such as diabetes, prostate cancer, heart disease, HIV, and many others.  As a member of the Disparities Committee of the Delaware Cancer Consortium, I work to understand the causes of health disparities and find ways to eliminate them, particularly those among African-Americans. A key element to solving this problem is increasing access to care, not just for minorities, but for all Americans. That’s why I strongly support our federally qualified community health centers, which treat underserved populations at affordable rates. I also believe that the federal government should be a driver of research into the causes and treatments for diseases that cost American lives and dollars each year.


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