Leading on Health Care

Fighting the Opioid Crisis

On October 24, 2018, President Trump signed the most important new health care law this year – legislation to fight the opioid crisis led by Senator Alexander. It deals with the nation’s worst public health challenge by helping to stop deadly fentanyl from coming from China to America by mail, finding new non-addictive pain killers, allowing opioids to be dispensed in blisters packs, for example a 3- or 7- day supplies, and providing more opportunities for treatment. As Chairman of the Senate health committee, Senator Alexander was the lead Senate sponsor.

Since March of 2018, Congress has also approved $8.5 billion to help implement this legislation and support communities, families, law enforcement and medical personnel who are fighting this crisis.

Reducing Health Care Costs

As Chairman of the Senate health committee, Senator Alexander has been leading a series of hearings examining how to reduce the cost of health care. At the first hearing of the series, the committee set the stage for how much health care costs, at the second hearing, the committee explored ways to reduce unnecessary health care spending, at the third hearing, the committee focused on ways to ease the administrative burden on doctors and hospitals, and at the fourth hearing, the committee focused on finding ways to improve access to information about the cost and quality of health care for patients.

The Committee has also taken other actions to lower the cost of health care, including approving the Patient Right to Know Act, a new law that will ban “gag” clauses that prevented pharmacists from telling patients about the option to potentially pay less for their prescriptions by paying with cash instead of using their insurance.

Lowering Health Insurance Premiums

Despite the fact that Democrats have elevated Obamacare to the 67th book of the Bible and refuse to change a single word of the law, Senator Alexander and the Trump Administration have been working to lower premiums for the thousands of Tennesseans who buy their own health insurance. Senator Alexander has offered legislation in the Senate that health experts say could lower premiums by up to 40 percent for the millions of Americans who purchase their own health insurance.

In June, the Trump Administration announced a new Department of Labor rule that would allow a self-employed Tennessee plumber or farmer or employee of a small business to buy lower cost employer health insurance that will include the same protections, such as coverage for pre-existing conditions, that employees of large companies have. In August, the Administration announced they would once again allow Americans to purchase lower-cost short-term health insurance plans for up to 12 months – plans that were available to Americans during all of the Obama Administration. These plans are an option for Americans who have lost their job or found Obamacare plans were too expensive. In October, the Administration gave states a better tool to help lower Obamacare health insurance premiums, by giving them more freedom in the law’s 1332 State Innovation Waiver. In four bipartisan health committee hearings Alexander chaired last fall on lowering health insurance premiums, virtually every witness told our committee that the waiver application was too cumbersome, inflexible, and expensive for states to use.

Senator Alexander has helped lead the fight against Obamacare since it was proposed in 2009. At the White House health care summit in February 2010, Alexander gave opening remarks on behalf of all congressional Republicans in opposition to Obamacare. The senator told the president the proposal would raise individual premiums. President Obama disagreed, but Tennesseans have seen their premiums increase 176 percent since 2013.

August 2017

Date Title
8/23/17 Alexander, Murray: 5 Governors to Testify at Sept. 7 Hearing on Stabilizing Premiums in the Individual Market
8/22/17 Alexander, Murray Announce First Two September Bipartisan Health Care Hearings
8/16/17 Chairman Alexander Statement on President Trump’s Decision to Make August Cost Sharing Reduction Payments
8/4/17 Patients, Researchers, and the Makers of Life-Saving Drugs and Medical Devices Support FDA User Fee Bill Passed by the Senate Today 94-1
8/3/17 By a Vote of 94-1, Senate Sends to President Bill Co-Authored by Alexander to Speed Cures and Treatments to Patients
8/2/17 Alexander: Committee Approves 5 Nominees Ready to Help Improve and Protect Health of All Americans
8/1/17 Chairman Alexander on Announcing Bipartisan Health Care Hearings: Unless Congress Acts, Millions May Not Have Insurance to Buy in 2018
8/1/17 Alexander: Confirming Nominees Will Help Ensure HHS Can Deliver on Mission of Protecting and Improving Americans' Health
8/1/17 Chairman Alexander and Ranking Member Murray Announce Health Care Committee Hearings

July 2017

Date Title
7/27/17 Floor Speech: Repeal and Replace Obamacare
7/26/17 Alexander Votes Against Amendment to Repeal the Affordable Care Act Without Replacement
7/25/17 Alexander Statement on Senate Vote to Debate Health Care Bill
7/13/17 Alexander Statement on Revised Draft Senate Health Care Bill
7/6/17 Alexander to Bradley Countians: I’m Working to Help 162,000 Low-Income Tennesseans Who Receive Zero Help Buying Health Insurance Under Current Law

June 2017

Date Title
6/22/17 Senator Alexander on Discussion Draft of Senate Health Care Bill