U.S. SENATE—U.S. Senator Martha McSally (R-AZ) delivered major health care wins for Arizona in a year-end funding package that passed the U.S. Senate today.
McSally successfully helped extend the medical expense deduction, so families with high health care costs do not see a tax increase next year.
In addition, McSally delayed cuts in Medicaid funding to community hospitals known as disproportionate share hospitals (DSH), and secured extended funding for critical community health programs which support underserved and vulnerable populations.
The package permanently repeals three harmful taxes imposed under the Affordable Care Act: the Health Insurance Tax (HIT), the Medical Device Tax, and the Cadillac Tax. McSally has fought to repeal these taxes since she was a member of the House of Representatives, and is a co-sponsor of all three Senate bills mandating a repeal.
“These wins are major breakthrough for Arizona families,” McSally said. “We are ensuring community hospitals can afford to keep their doors open so residents in underserved populations have a place to go for care. This bill will help drive down rising health care costs and incentivize innovation in the medical field so that Arizona families can access cutting-edge care. In addition, we are instituting policies that will help lower prescription drug costs, so no one is forced to leave their medicine at the pharmacy counter.”
The package includes the McSally-backed CREATES Act which will help lower prescription drug prices by allowing generic-drug developers to bring civil actions against brand-name drug makers for not selling them samples needed for testing during the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval process.
Included in the package are other key health care priorities McSally has been advocating for:
· $2.8 billion to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for Alzheimer’s disease research
· $10 million to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for the establishment of a suicide prevention program.
· $27 million to the CDC for the Diabetes Prevention Program
· $3.8 billion in continued funding for opioid prevention and treatment through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA)
· $944 million for programs to improve maternal and child health, including an additional $5 million to reduce maternal mortality through the Health Resources and Services Administration.
On December 10, McSally sent a letter to Senate leadership urging them to extend the medical expense deduction in any end-of-year funding package.
On December 9, McSally introduced legislation to delay Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) payments for two years. DSH payments go to eligible hospitals that serve a disproportionate share of low-income patients with special needs, including children, seniors and the disabled.
On October 21, McSally sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (KY) and Minority Leader Charles Schumer (NY) urging long-term funding of community health centers (CHCs).
On September 17, McSally sent a bipartisan letter with members of the Arizona Congressional Delegation urging Congressional leaders to permanently repeal the medical device tax.
On February 28, McSally joined a letter to Senate leaders urging a repeal of the Health Insurance Tax.