News from Representative DeGette

       

Dear Friend,

The fight to protect health care heated up this week. While I am engaged in that matter as ever, I also took the lead on other public health priorities.

On Thursday, Senate Republicans unveiled their new Trumpcare bill to dismantle the Affordable Care Act. After developing it among a small group for nearly a month, they revealed it toward the week’s end. My initial view: This bill is an even worse version than the one that was rushed through the House last month. If it becomes law, people will die due to draconian cuts to Medicaid, the crushing Age Tax it imposes on those aged 50 to 64, and its provisions letting states undermine important protections for people with pre-existing conditions, such as the current essential health benefit requirements. Offering a bill like this, after scheming over it in secret backrooms with no input from Democrats or even many Republicans, is not only poor policy, it’s a disservice to the public

Coloradans have a lot to say about this Republican health scheme and its House predecessor. I’ve heard poignant and heartfelt stories from many constituents on what coverage under the ACA means for you and your families. As Senators prepare to vote on this new bill, I want them to hear those stories too. I encourage you to visit my official Facebook page to tell your stories about how the ACA has positively affected your life, or to share your views on the Senate bill. I intend to deliver these notes personally to our Colorado senators. Our collective voices can make the difference between “it’s covered” and “it’s cancelled.”

I also took action on a pressing health concern for many in our community who live with diabetes. Insulin is a lifeline for millions of Americans, but because of skyrocketing costs and inadequate insurance coverage, it’s in danger of becoming priced like a luxury. We can’t let that happen, which is why I teamed up with my Republican colleague Tom Reed of New York to get answers from three key stakeholders. Rep. Reed is my co-chair on the Congressional Diabetes Caucus. We know this is a complex issue and we are looking for input from all involved on how to develop the best policy solutions to make insulin more affordable. In some cases, people skip doses, fail to pay rent or buy groceries, and even resort to an insulin ‘black market’ in order to afford their insulin.  Patients and their families deserve relief, and this meeting will provide a necessary first step to ensuring every American with diabetes has the ability to thrive.

Also while in DC, I spoke at a Washington Post public forum with Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden and Senator Edward J. Markey on addiction in America, particularly opioid abuse. The three of us have all heard tragic stories of addiction in our communities and are committed to alleviating it. I stressed that while money is not a panacea, smart federal investments through legislation like 21st Century Cures, my biomedical research bill that became law last year, present a path forward. In addition, increasing knowledge of addiction and a greater focus on holistic approaches can provide a lifeline for millions in Colorado and across America embroiled in this public health crisis.

As the week started, I was back home holding public events on matters that are at the top of constituents’ minds. At Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children, I spoke out against President Trump’s proposed budget cuts to Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). We owe it to the nearly 600,000 kids on CHIP and Medicaid in our state alone to protect these programs, which have long enjoyed bipartisan backing, and to ensure healthier families across America.

On the same day, my third annual Senior Resource Fair was a big success, connecting nearly 100 attendees with more than 20 organizations that provide critical assistance to seniors and their caregivers. I’d also like thank District Attorney Beth McCann for speaking about fraud and other types of schemes targeting seniors. With the enthusiastic response we got, we’ll start laying the groundwork for next year’s event now!

I also held a Facebook Live Town Hall where I discussed climate change, financial aid/student debt, entrepreneurship and more. Thanks to all of you who participated and asked great questions on these critical issues that affect our community. We’ll hold another one soon -- but for now, you can watch the entire event on my Facebook Page.

As always, you can visit my website, where you can read my positions on issues and learn about the different ways my staff can assist you. While you’re there, be sure to visit the “Contact” page and send me an email about what matters most to you and your family. Finally, be sure to share this email with your friends, family, and neighbors so that they too can be a part of this important dialogue.


Sincerely,

Diana DeGette
Member of Congress

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