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Rep. Andy Harris Voted for Higher Drug Prices and Higher Insurance Premiums for Maryland

By November 30, 2021No Comments

Salisbury, MD — The Build Back Better Act will deliver long-overdue relief to Maryland families by lowering insurance premiums, giving Medicare the power to negotiate for lower drug prices, expanding Medicare benefits to cover hearing, and investing $150 billion in home care for seniors and people with disabilities. By voting against Build Back Better, Representative Andy Harris (MD-01), voted against lowering health care costs for working families — despite overwhelming support from his own constituents. 

“Time and again, Rep. Harris has failed the people of Maryland on health care,” said Protect Our Care Chair Leslie Dach. “Marylanders from all walks of life support policies to lower drug prices, expand coverage, improve care for seniors, and level the playing field for working families, but Rep. Harris continues to put industry profits ahead of his constituents. By opposing Build Back Better, Rep. Harris proved he is out of touch with the economic and health worries that keep families up at night. Just like his attempts to destroy the Affordable Care Act, this vote will haunt Rep. Harris for years to come.” 

Here’s what Rep. Harris’s vote against Build Back Better means for Maryland: 

Rep. Harris Voted For Higher Drug Prices 

Rep. Harris Opposed Giving Medicare The Power To Negotiate Lower Drug Prices. For nearly 20 years, Medicare has been banned from negotiating the price of prescription drugs, and Big Pharma has been able to dictate prices while Americans pay three times more for their medications than people in other countries. Rep. Harris voted with his Big Pharma allies to continue to block Medicare from negotiating the prices for select drugs purchased at the pharmacy counter and administered at the doctor’s office. 

Rep. Harris Opposed Capping Out-Of-Pocket Spending For Seniors. Rep. Harris voted against helping seniors with serious conditions like cancer, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis save thousands of dollars on prescriptions, by opposing the Build Back Better Act which caps Medicare Part D out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs at $2,000 per year beginning in 2024. 

Rep. Harris Voted Against Lowering the Price of Insulin. Rep. Harris opposed capping insulin co-pays for all Americans with insurance at $35 each month. 

Rep. Harris Voted To Allow Unlimited Price Increases On Prescription Drugs. Rep. Harris voted against stopping Big Pharma from raising prices faster than the rate of inflation as part of the Build Back Better Act. This cap will apply to all Americans, no matter whether you are insured or not, and no matter what kind of insurance you have, and is essential to stop arbitrary price increases on essential medications. 

Rep. Harris Voted For Higher Health Insurance Premiums 

Rep. Harris Voted Against Helping Nine Million Americans Save On Monthly Premiums. Rep. Harris voted against helping nine million Americans save an average of $600 annually on their premiums when they buy insurance on their own through the ACA Marketplaces. For a family of four making $80,000 a year, premiums will drop nearly $250 a month, or nearly $3,000 a year. 

Rep. Harris Opposed Premium Relief For Middle Income Families. The Build Back Better ensures families above will pay no more than 8.5 percent of their income towards health coverage. This will help middle-income families facing excessive premiums or living in high-premium areas.

Rep. Harris Voted Against Expanding Medicare Benefits

Rep. Harris Voted Against Giving Access To Hearing Care To Millions Of Seniors. Rep. Harris voted against adding hearing coverage to Medicare Part B starting in 2023. Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that a Medicare hearing benefit could aid all 62 million Medicare beneficiaries, particularly the 36 million purchasing coverage on their own or simply going without.

Rep. Harris Opposed Health Care For Mothers 

Rep. Harris Voted Against Providing 12 Months Of Continuous Coverage To Women Following Childbirth.  Rep. Harris voted to deny 12 months of continuous coverage to postpartum women on Medicaid. In 2018, 45 percent of births were paid for by Medicaid, with 50 percent or more births covered by the program in 22 states. Medicaid covers 65 percent of all births to Black mothers. 

Rep. Harris Voted Against Funding Health Equity Measures To Reduce Maternal Deaths. The Build Back Better Act includes $295 million to bolster and diversify the perinatal health workforce, including funding for midwives and doulas whose involvement is essential to reducing maternal deaths. An additional $100 million has been included for maternal mental health equity and $50 million for maternal health research at Minority-Serving Institutions.

Rep. Harris Voted Against Extending And Protecting Health Insurance Coverage for Children (CHIP) 

Rep. Harris Voted Against Permanent Funding For The Children’s Health Insurance Program. Rep. Harris voted against the Build Back Better Act, which provides for a permanent extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). 

Rep. Harris Voted Against Keeping Children on Medicaid For A Full Year. The Build Back Better Act requires states to provide 12-month continuous coverage for children on Medicaid and CHIP. States that don’t provide continuous coverage experience increased churn, or children who dis-enrolled and re-enrolled in coverage within the same year. 

Rep. Harris Voted Against Expanding Home And Community-Based Services To Allow Americans To Grow Old At Home 

Rep. Harris Opposed Allowing Millions of Americans To Grow Old At Home. Medicaid is currently the largest provider of home and community-based care, providing essential services to seniors and people with disabilities. Rep. Harris voted against the Build Back Better Act, which will provide an additional $150 billion for home and community-based services, that would provide care to the 2.5 million Americans already participating in the program, and help alleviate the current waitlist of more than 800,000 individuals. Federally provided home and community-based services funds helped more than 100,000 individuals return to their homes and communities from nursing facilities between 2008 and 2019, highlighting the enormous need for Build Back Better to strengthen this essential program.

Rep. Harris Voted Against Helping Families Save An Estimated $5,800 In Home Care Costs. Older Americans and people with disabilities are often forced to liquidate their assets to afford as little as two years of in-home care. The HCBS provisions included in the Build Back Better Act will save families paying out-of-pocket an estimated $5,800 a year for four hours of care per week.