Access to Quality, Affordable Health Care
To combat unsustainable and increasing medical costs for American families, businesses, and our government, the 111th Congress and the Obama Administration reformed our nation’s health insurance system to make high-quality care more accessible and affordable.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA), is helping New York by:
- Providing new benefits and lowering costs for three million New York Medicare beneficiaries, including closing the prescription drug “donut hole”;
- Protecting against unreasonable insurance rate increases, lifetime limits on coverage, and denials of care to children because of pre-existing conditions;
- Reducing health care costs for families and businesses through affordable insurance exchanges;
- Enabling nearly 160,000 New York young adults to stay on their parents’ health plan until their 26th birthday; and
- Preventing illness and promoting health through free preventive care and investments in community health centers.
Congresswoman Lowey has been a strong supporter of the ACA and voted more than 70 times against Republican efforts to repeal these important consumer protections. In particular, she voted against the bill supported by House Republicans and the Trump Administration that would have repealed the ACA and resulted in an estimated 22,000 constituents losing access to health care.
Congresswoman Lowey believes that Congress must work to improve and expand the ACA to continue its promise of providing affordable care for every American. She is a cosponsor of Medicare for All, which would expand Medicare access to all Americans, reduce the costs of prescription drugs, and cover additional benefits, such as dental, vision, and mental health, which are not currently covered by Medicare.
Congresswoman Lowey is a leader in Congress on protecting women’s health services and access to family planning. Congresswoman Lowey:
- Led the fight against the Trump Administration’s efforts to weaken evidence-based family planning and teen pregnancy prevention services;
- Is an original cosponsor of the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would protect a woman’s right to safe and legal reproductive health services by stopping restrictive state bans that are intended to curtail access to reproductive health services for women;
- Authored the Breast Cancer and Environmental Research Act, enacted in 2008, to increase research on the links between breast cancer and the environment;
- Passed legislation to require coverage of contraceptives for federal employees in 1998 and supports access to contraception coverage under the ACA;
- Successfully fought to ensure that clinical trials at the National Institutes of Health include females in order to understand gender differences in benefits and risks of medications and treatments; and
- Strongly supports WISEWOMAN services that screen women for heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases, the leading cause of death among women.
Funding for Biomedical Research
Detecting, curing, and preventing diseases require sustained and aggressive investment in biomedical research, and Congresswoman Lowey worked successfully to more than triple the budget for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). She is working to continue investing aggressively in research and grants for hospitals and research institutions that conduct groundbreaking medical research to improve treatments, decrease health costs, and grow our economy.
Requiring Labeling to Prevent Allergic Reactions
After hearing from constituents about the difficulty food-allergic consumers had reading product labels, Lowey authored the Food Allergen Labelling and Consumer Protection Act, the first-ever bill mandating clear, concise food allergen labeling. Her legislation was enacted in 2006, requiring food manufacturers to list in plain language on food labels the eight most common food allergens and require the FDA to regulate the use of the term “gluten-free.” The New York Times called this bill “an all too rare example … of bipartisan cooperation to serve the public good.”
Protecting Youth from the E-Cigarette Epidemic
From 2017 to 2018, e-cigarette use among high schoolers rose 78%, with high schoolers now reporting the highest rate of tobacco use in 14 years. Congresswoman Lowey is leading the fight against the tobacco companies and their allies in Congress by:
- Ensuring the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) fully enforce the law and remove illegal e-cigarette products from the market;
- Cosponsored legislation to raise the federal smoking age from 18 to 21 and to ban flavored tobacco products, which have been shown to attract children; and
- As Chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee, included an increase of $40 million for the CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health in the FY2020 House-passed health spending bill to provide federal, state, and county governments with more resources to combat the epidemic.
Proper Labeling on Sunscreen
Comprehensive and accurate information about skin protection is critical to decreasing the incidence of skin cancer. Lowey authored the Sunscreen Consumer Right to Know Act in 2007 to require the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to issue sunscreen standards that protect against both skin cancer and sunburn causing rays. As a result of Lowey’s efforts, regulations went into effect in 2012 that require sunscreen manufacturers to disclose whether their products protect against UVA and UVB radiation, helping inform consumers to protect themselves from sunburn, skin cancer, and premature aging.
Reimbursing NY Providers Fairly
During the Ebola crisis, many hospitals in New York took extraordinary emergency preparedness measures to protect the health and safety of all Americans. Following the Ebola outbreak, Lowey worked to ensure that hospitals in New York were eligible to receive $3.63 million toward the costs of renovations and alterations of facilities to meet this public health threat.
Health Care and Permanent Benefits for 9/11 Survivors
More than 30,000 responders and survivors have acquired illnesses or injury caused by the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Lowey was an original co-sponsor on and fought hard to include the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act in the FY 2016 omnibus spending bill, reviving two programs, the World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program and the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund.
Lowey is also an original cosponsor of the Never Forget the Heroes Act, which was signed into law on July 27, 2019. This legislation permanently reauthorizes the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund, covering 9/11 responders for the rest of their lives. 9/11 first responders, survivors, and their families deserve nothing less than the full support of Congress.
Because good health is critical to children’s ability to grow and develop, Congresswoman Lowey has worked to:
- Combat childhood obesity through access to proper nutrition and physical education;
- Ensure every child has access to quality, affordable health care, including through a long-term reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP); and
- Protect children from food allergies through clear labeling and helping schools prevent and respond to reactions.
Improving Long-Term Care and Access to Care for the Disabled
To help families provide necessary care for individuals with disabilities or those in need of long-term care, Congresswoman Lowey supports:
- Tax deductions for long-term care premiums and Social Security credits for those acting as a family caregiver; and
- Increased access to medical diagnostic equipment, wellness grants, and physician and dental training on working with patients with disabilities.