Health Care and Social Security
Congressman Blumenauer is fighting for health care reform to ensure that high quality, affordable health care is available to everyone. From his position on the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health, he has supported efforts to extend access to under- and un-insured people, protect coverage and benefits for our most vulnerable citizens, protect and improve Medicare and Medicare Advantage, and improve health care equity for women, minorities, and the LGBT community.
Medicare for All
Earl is fighting for Medicare for All and recognizes health care as a human right. The Affordable Care Act brought America closer to the goal of universal health coverage but health care remains too expensive for too many people. This is a pivotal time in our history to build on the progress we’ve made and fight for a future in which everyone receives quality, affordable care, no matter their circumstances.
Earl supports the Social Security 2100 Act to modernize the Social Security system and ensure retirees receive the benefits they worked for throughout their life.
Republicans have chosen a strategy of inaction, which would lead to benefit cuts and increasing the retirement age once the Social Security Trust Fund becomes insolvent. For one-third of beneficiaries, Social Security is 100 percent of their retirement, which is true in Oregon's 3rd Congressional District. Cutting benefits would negatively harm hundreds of thousands of elderly Oregonians and millions across the country.
That's why Earl is a strong supporter of the Social Security 2100 Act , which would expand benefits for all current and future Social Security recipients, cut taxes for millions of seniors, and ensure the system remains solvent for the rest of the century.
Prescription Drug Prices
Every American should have access to quality, affordable medicine because no one should have to decide between filling their prescriptions or paying their rent. Drug prices have risen at an alarming rate, and many people can't afford necessary medications. New drugs for cancer and rare diseases can cost more than $100,000 a year. Even generic medicines for chronic conditions, such as insulin, have seen prices triple or more between 2002-2013.
Drug companies have been taking advantage of the American health care system for too long. While investing in innovation is crucial to developing potential life-saving drugs, it's not useful if no one can afford them. We have to have a balance that preserves incentives for companies to develop life-saving therapies while at the same time making sure that all patients can afford those drugs.
Earl is fighting for legislation that would end the days of Americans skipping their medications because they can’t afford them. He supports legislation like the Medicare Negotiation and Competitive Licensing Act, that would remove the prohibition on the federal government negotiating drug prices in the Medicare program, which will help beneficiaries get their medications at affordable prices.
As a member of the Ways and Means committee, Earl strongly supports efforts to make sure that all Medicare beneficiaries, whether they have traditional Medicare or Medicare Advantage, have access to affordable, comprehensive care. He's working on critical legislation to address gaps in the Medicare program. His bill, the Promoting Access to Diabetic Shoes Act, would ensure that Medicare patients with diabetes can get timely access to care.
He is also a lead sponsor of the Improving HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act, which would strengthen medical provider awareness of Alzheimer’s and dementia care planning services covered by Medicare.
Earl is fighting to ensure that Medicare provides a comprehensive benefit package. He is a champion for the Medicare Dental, Vision, and Hearing Benefit Act of 2019, which would provide for Medicare coverage of dental, vision, and hearing care.
Earl has never wavered with his commitment to reproductive rights for women and strongly supports a woman’s right to make her own health care choices. He is a member of the Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus with a consistent 100% pro-choice voting record (according to NARAL Pro-Choice America and Planned Parenthood). He advocates for legislation to support reproductive rights and comprehensive sex education including:
- EACH Woman Act, which protects access to reproductive care for public health insurance beneficiaries, federal employees, and in federal health services.
- Access to Contraception for Servicemembers and Dependents Act of 2019
- Youth Access to Sexual Health Services Act of 2019
- Real Education for Healthy Youth Act of 2019
Earl is fighting for the right of all individuals to make their own health decisions that fit their needs. The federal government should not protect discriminatory behavior by health care providers. He is a cosponsor of the Equality Act, which would prohibit discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity. He also supports the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act, which would prohibit sexual orientation or gender identity conversion therapy from being provided in exchange for compensation.
Oregon Health Plan (Medicaid & CHIP)
Throughout his career in public service, Earl has fought to make a reality the idea that everyone, regardless of income, should have access to quality, affordable health care. He's worked to improve and protect the Oregon Health Plan (OHP), which provides health insurance for low-income Oregonians. As Republicans try to dismantle federal funding for OHP, Earl continues to fight to preserve and strengthen this vital safety net program.
Mental Health & Substance Use Disorders
Mental health care is stigmatized and underfunded in our communities. There's a serious need for increased resources to address wide-ranging mental health issues. Earl introduced the Youth Mental Health Services Act of 2019 to allow students to better access community-based mental health resources in schools and is also supporting the Mental Health Services for Students Act of 2019. He led the Overdose Prevention and Patient Safety Act to help address the opioid crisis by ensuring that medical providers have access to the full medical history of patients suffering from substance use disorders. Finally, Earl strongly supports action to prevent suicide and expand Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics that increase access to addiction and mental health treatment. To this end, he supports the Native American Suicide Prevention Act of 2019 and the Excellence in Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Expansion Act.
The maternal mortality rate in the U.S. is the highest of most developed countries and women of color are disproportionately impacted. This is unacceptable. The federal government must be a stronger ally and partner with women. Earl was one of the first leaders in Congress to support the MOMMA’s Act, which would expand Medicaid and CHIP coverage for postpartum care from 60 days to a year, along with the Quality Care for Moms and Babies Act and the Healthy Maternity and Obstetric Medicine Act. In 2015, 50% of births in Oregon were financed by the Oregon Health Plan, Oregon’s Medicaid program.
Earl believes we need paid leave so that Americans are able to leave work to care for themselves or their loved ones without fear of losing their job. He supports the Family and Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act that would create a national program to help new parents and people with serious personal or family health problems take the time they need to care for themselves or their loved ones.
For more information concerning work and views related to Health Care and Social Security, please contact our office.
Congressional Neuroscience Caucus
Mission of the Congressional Neuroscience Caucus
In February 2010, when speaking at an OHSU Brain Awareness Lecture, Earl discussed the critical importance of neuroscience research and announced the formation of a Congressional Neuroscience Caucus.
Co-Chaired by Representatives Earl Blumenauer and Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the aim of the Caucus is to build awareness of the intrinsic role brain research plays in understanding ourselves and our society, to help communicate the progress and the benefits of this research, and promote changes in federal policies to support neuroscience research.
About the Congressional Neuroscience Caucus
The brain is the last great frontier of medical science; increased focus is required as neuroscience is at a historic turning point. A continuous stream of advances is shattering long-held notions about how the human brain works and what happens when it doesn’t. These advances are also reshaping the landscapes of other fields, from psychology to economics, education and the law.
These advances come at a critical time -- currently one in three individuals is afflicted with a neurological or psychiatric disorder. There are more people with brain disorders than all cancers and heart problems combined. And as society ages, this number will increase exponentially as will the cost to the healthcare system, the economy, and society.
These problems are the leading cause of disability, resulting in more hospitalizations and long-term care than all other disorders combined. From autism to Alzheimer’s, neuroscience research is the only way to stem this growing epidemic. It is a looming disaster that is hanging over the heads – and brains – of the boomer generation. Only through research will the causes, cures, and ultimately prevention of neurological and psychiatric disorders be found. By unlocking the secrets of the brain, this research will doubtlessly improve our lives.
What Do Members Support?
- Policies that encourage support for funding of quality neuroscience research.
- Policies that enhance translation and dissemination of discoveries to maximize the medical and societal benefits of research.
What Does the Neuroscience Caucus Do?
The Congressional Neuroscience Caucus develops and promotes legislation that will further advance neuroscience research; sponsoring briefings and information sessions on neuroscience research and findings; collaborating with patient advocacy, physician, and research organizations to build awareness; and distributing congressional communications and information such as Dear Colleagues and Congressional Record statements.
For more information concerning Earl's work and views regarding the Neuroscience Caucus, please contact the office.