Tomorrow, President Trump’s HHS chief, ex-pharmaceutical executive Alex Azar, will testify before the Senate Finance Committee amidst a swirl of controversy. With his Department pushing junk plans and failing to address the skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs, all while his Trump Administration argues in court that insurance companies should once again discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions, Secretary Azar has a lot answer for.
- The Trump Administration says it supports lowering prescription drug prices, despite its actions. The best way to keep drug prices down is to let Medicare directly negotiate with drug companies. Will Secretary Azar reverse his stated opposition and support President Trump’s campaign-trail promise on drug cost negotiation?
- The Department of Justice recently announced that it would no longer defend the Affordable Care Act in court and even argued that the courts should repeal the ACA’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions. Why hasn’t Secretary Azar spoken up to defend people with pre-existing conditions from the Justice Department’s threat?
- Insurance companies want to hike premium rates by double digits all across the country and they are citing your Administration’s sabotage as the reason. This is the same argument Azar’s predecessor, former HHS Secretary Tom Price made. Isn’t he right to say the tax bill is driving up insurance costs?
- Association health plans and short-term health plans allow insurance companies to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions, and to charge sick people more for the same coverage. Can Secretary Azar estimate how many people with pre-existing conditions will be excluded from junk plans?
- HHS is now pushing junk plans that are often exempt from covering essential health benefits such as maternity care, substance abuse treatment, and prescription drugs. Experts warn these plans will drive up the cost of comprehensive care. If you finalize the junk plan rule, will you take action to ensure these products must cover essential health care services, such as hospitalization and maternity care?
- Your Department’s cuts to health care outreach were estimated to prevent more than 1 million Americans from signing up for care for 2018. Looking ahead to next year, will you commit the resources to make sure everyone has access to the support they need to sign up for health care this open enrollment period?