Posted on July 19, 2019
WASHINGTON, July 19 — Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) joined Fox Business Network to discuss his legislation to lower out of pocket health care costs and “New Manhattan Project for Clean Energy.” You can find excerpts below and click here to watch yesterday’s interview.
Liz Claman: “I want to get to health care. Bernie Sanders says Medicare for All. You've got a plan.”
Sen. Alexander: “Remember what Medicare for All means. It means if you've got insurance on the job, and 180 million Americans do, he would take it away, and give you something different. What we're working on and what Democrats as well as Republicans agree on is reducing the health care costs out of your own pocket, not health insurance, health care costs. Like ending surprise medical billing, where you get a bill two months later that you don't expect. Like prescription drugs, bringing those costs down. Like giving you more information about whether an MRI costs $700 or $7,000, so your employer can lower their costs and your costs as well.”
Claman: “When you say Democrats as well, who do you have on board?”
Sen. Alexander: “We have 36 Democrats and we have 29 Republicans who have come up with a bill that has 55 different proposals. Now, you don't hear about that very much in Washington. But we sat down and said, if 50% of what we're spending on health care may be unnecessary—which is what the experts say—can we not think of some specific things to do to bring down the cost? And we have 55 steps.”
In June, the Senate health committee passed the Lower Health Care Costs Act by a vote of 20-3. The legislation ends surprise medical billing, lowers prescription drug prices, increases transparency, improves public health, makes electronic medical records work better, raises the minimum age for purchasing any tobacco product from 18 to 21, and extends funding for Community Health Centers and diabetes research.
Claman: “The Green New Deal was much attacked by the GOP. What about your plan?”
Sen. Alexander: “Well, not just the GOP. We voted on the Green New Deal in the United States Senate, and it didn't get one vote. It did not even get a democratic vote… I believe climate change is real. I believe humans are causing it, but I don't believe you get rid, for example, of natural gas to solve the problem. Natural gas and efficiency are the two principal ways the United States has led the world the last 15 years in reducing greenhouse gases.”
In March, Alexander proposed that the United States launch a “New Manhattan Project for Clean Energy,” a five-year project with Ten Grand Challenges that will use American research and technology to put our country and the world firmly on a path toward cleaner, cheaper energy.
Senator Alexander is Chairman of the Senate health committee, and Senate Energy and Water Development Appropriations subcommittee.