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Same Story, Different Day: Patrick McHenry’s Health Care Record Makes Him Another Radical Choice to Lead the House

By October 19, 2023October 25th, 2023No Comments

With the House GOP in utter chaos after failing to elect a Speaker once again, Republicans are desperately rallying behind interim Speaker pro tempore Patrick McHenry (R-NC). Just like Kevin McCarthy and Jim Jordan, Patrick McHenry has a long history of fighting to raise health care costs and rip away critical protections from the American people. Patrick McHenry is completely out of step with the American people on health care. 

Since taking office in 2005, McHenry has opposed the Affordable Care Act since its inception and has been a key player in efforts to rip away protections for 135 million Americans with pre-existing conditions. He was instrumental in shepherding former president Trump’s repeal attempt through the House, he’s supported cuts to Medicare and Social Security for over a decade, threatening the health and well-being of our nation’s seniors, and he supports a nationwide abortion ban. On top of McHenry’s abysmal health care record, he spent the last four years fighting legislation to lower drug costs in order to keep Big Pharma’s profits high. Under Rep. McHenry’s leadership, Republicans will undoubtedly return to their radical agenda of opposing the Affordable Care Act, slashing Medicare and Medicaid, and hiking drug and health insurance costs.

Patrick McHenry’s record is clear: he has always supported higher prices for prescription drugs and higher premiums for people who buy health insurance on their own. McHenry opposed the Inflation Reduction Act and has a history of siding with the drug industry and health insurance companies. He’s tried to slash the Affordable Care Act & Medicaid, which seniors, communities of color, and people with disabilities count on. If McHenry got his way, drug companies would make even more record-breaking profits but working people would pay more for health care.

If Patrick McHenry got his way:

  • Medicare would be banned from negotiating lower prices for prescription drugs
  • Insulin prices would not have been capped at $35/month for seniors
  • Seniors would have to pay more than $2,000 a year out-of-pocket for prescriptions.
  • Drug companies would be able to once again raise prices faster than the rate of inflation without penalty.
  • Health care coverage for about 23 million people would have been eliminated by 2026
  • People with pre-existing conditions could again be denied coverage or charged higher prices
  • …. and so much more 

THE DETAILS: Patrick McHenry Voted For Higher Premiums And Prescription Drug Costs

2021: Patrick McHenry, And Every Republican In Congress, Voted Against The Inflation Reduction Act. McHenry joined every Republican in Congress in voting against the Inflation Reduction Act, which “requires the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to negotiate the prices of certain prescription drugs under Medicare beginning in 2026,” and “requires drug manufacturers to issue rebates to the CMS for brand-name drugs without generic equivalents under Medicare medical services that cost $100 or more per year per individual and for which prices increase faster than inflation.” [HR 5376, Roll Call Vote #420, 8/12/21

  • McHenry Has Ties To Drug Industry Special Interests. McHenry has significant ties to the pharmaceutical and drug manufacturing industry, having pocketed just over $69,900 from the industry during the 2022 midterm election cycle while his opponent received just $250. Big drug companies fiercely lobbied against the Inflation Reduction Act, which included provisions allowing the Department of Health and Human Services to negotiate prescription drug prices for Medicare.

What The Inflation Reduction Act Means For America:

2021: Patrick McHenry, And Every Republican In Congress, Voted Against the American Rescue Plan. McHenry joined every Republican in Congress in voting against the American Rescue Plan, which “provide[d] health insurance premium assistance for individuals who become eligible for, and elect to enroll in, the COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act) continuation coverage program,” increased the rate of “the refundable tax credit for coverage under qualified health plan”, and “ma[de] individuals who received unemployment compensation in 2021 eligible for cost-sharing subsidies for health care expenses under qualified health insurance plans.” [HR 1319, Roll Call Vote #72, 3/10/21

What The American Rescue Plan Meant For America:

  • Saved families an average of $2,400 a year on their health insurance premiums.
  • Ensured all Americans never pay more than 8.5 percent of their household incomes towards an ACA Marketplace premium.
  • Eliminated premiums for people earning up to 150 percent of the federal poverty level who buy their coverage on the ACA Marketplace.
  • Extended the premium tax credit to 3.1 million Americans.

2019: Patrick McHenry Voted Against HR3. McHenry joined all but two House Republicans in voting against the Elijah Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act (HR 3), which would have lowered the cost of prescription drug prices by “empowering the federal government to negotiate prices with pharmaceutical manufacturers.” HR 3 would have required the Department of Health and Human Services to negotiate maximum prices for insulin, new and existing single-source brand-name drugs without generics, the top drugs expensed through Medicare and Medicare Advantage, and would have set price ceilings at 120% of the average price in similar countries or 85% of the price for domestic manufacturers. [HR 3, Roll Call Vote #682, 12/12/19]

What HR 3 Meant For America:

Patrick McHenry Opposes The ACA And Its Protections For 1 in 2 Americans With Pre-Existing Conditions

McHenry Voted Against Legislation To Protect Patients With Pre-Existing Conditions – After Saying Those With Pre-Existing Conditions Should Have Protections. In October 2018, McHenry said Congress should “ensure those with pre-existing conditions have continued access to medical care.” But less than a year later, McHenry voted against the Protecting Americans With Pre-Existing Conditions Act of 2019, which would have ensured affordable, robust coverage for patients with pre-existing conditions and blocked future administrations from skirting Affordable Care Act coverage requirements. [H.R. 986, Roll Call Vote #196, 5/9/19]

 Patrick McHenry Has Opposed The Affordable Care Act Since Its Inception. Since taking office in 2007, McHenry has been a relentless opponent of the Affordable Care Act, including voting against initial passage of the law and sponsoring at least six attempts to repeal or substantially alter the law. In 2017, he said he has been committed to repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act “since it became law.” McHenry has continued to oppose the law even after Trump’s repeal attempt failed. In 2018, he said the Affordable Care Act hurt the health care industry and drove up prices, and suggested that he would “tackle health care” as part of addressing the federal deficit.

2017: Patrick McHenry Was Instrumental In Shepherding Trump’s Disastrous ACA Replacement. In 2017, McHenry was part of the frantic Republican attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act and rip away health coverage and protections for pre-existing conditions for millions of Americans. He served as Chief Deputy Whip for the Republican caucus at the time and was crucial in garnering support for the legislation. As reporters noted, “it appears McHenry spent a lot of time bringing congressmen around to back the bill…McHenry worked the floor frantically in the week leading up to the vote.” McHenry also worked closely with the Trump administration on the repeal effort, and said he was “proud to have worked closely with President Trump and his Administration to pass this law.” He later voted for the passage of the American Health Care Act, justifying his vote by telling his North Carolina constituents that the Affordable Care Act “made healthcare worse” – even as voters in his district expressed support for the law. In a press release addressing the vote, McHenry declared: “This is the beginning and more work must be done.” [HR 1628, Roll Call Vote #256, 5/4/17

  • Former Speaker Kevin McCarthy Praised McHenry For Getting ACA Repeal Through The House. During a CNN interview, McCarthy told reporters, “And I will tell you, being the whip, really isn’t one person. The deputy whip should get a lot of credit as well. Patrick McHenry. Steve Scalise never gave up. Answered every question. And the team between Scalise and McHenry I would take.” [CNN, 5/4/17]

 What Did AHCA Mean for America?

  • Approximately 1 in 2 people in America with pre-existing conditions would have lost protections for coverage.
  • 23 million people would have lost coverage under this bill by 2026
  • The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office found that the American Health Care Act would have raised premiums by 20 percent.
  • The negative economic impact of the American Health Care Act would have caused 1.8 million people to lose their jobs by 2022.

2015: Patrick McHenry Voted For A Total Repeal Of The ACA. McHenry voted for HR 596, an act “to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and health care-related provisions in the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.” The bill also ordered House committees to develop a replacement that would “provide people with pre-existing conditions access to affordable health coverage,” but provided no specifics. [HR 596, Roll Call Vote #58, 2/3/15

2010: Patrick McHenry Voted Against the ACA & Supported Efforts To Overturn The Law In Court. McHenry voted against HR 3590, also known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, in March 2010. After the bill’s passage, he supported efforts to overturn the law in court. [HR 2590, Roll Call Vote #165, 3/21/10

Patrick McHenry Wants To Slash Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.

Patrick McHenry Is A Cheerleader For The Push To Cut, Partially Privatize Medicare And Social Security. McHenry has long defended GOP plans to cut Medicare and Social Security. He’s a member of the Republican Study Committee, which released a budget outlining plans to raise the Medicare eligibility age to 67 and raise premiums for many seniors while partially privatizing the program. In 2012, McHenry voted to raise the retirement age to 70 and supported a budget attempting to end Medicare and shift costs to seniors.

2017: Patrick McHenry Voted To Cut Medicare By $473 Billion. McHenry voted for the FY 2018 budget resolution, which included $473 billion in cuts to Medicare over 10 years. [H Con Res 71, Vote #557, 10/5/17

2017: Patrick McHenry Voted To Slash $1.3 Trillion From Medicaid. McHenry voted for the FY 2018 budget resolution, which cut funding for non-Medicare health programs, most notably Medicaid, by 1.3 trillion, a 20 percent cut over the course of 10 years, increasing to a 29.3 percent cut by 2027. [H Con Res 71, Vote #557, 10/5/17

2017: Patrick McHenry Voted For Trump’s AHCA, Which Cut $880 Billion From Medicaid. McHenry voted for AHCA, which included $880 billion in cuts to Medicaid. [HR 1628, Roll Call Vote #256, 5/4/17 

  • Vox Called AHCA A “Sneaky” Reversal Of The Medicaid Expansion. “Medicaid, a government program that simply compensates health care providers at stingy rates, is much cheaper than private insurance. So the ACA’s authors chose to expand it to cover all families with incomes below 138 percent of the poverty line, rather than shelling out the money it would have cost to have the government pay for them to buy private insurance. The AHCA reverses this expansion. But to avoid the criticism that the law throws poor children off their health insurance, it reverses it in a somewhat sneaky way. Rather than taking Medicaid away from families who have it, it simply caps new enrollments in Medicaid so no new poor families can sign up. But the way this cap works, you can’t get back on Medicaid if you go off of it. So a poor family that gets a raise and becomes non-poor for a year will lose access to Medicaid permanently.” [Vox, 5/9/17]