As a two-time cancer survivor and father of two kids with Crohn’s disease, I know that health care must be treated as a human right—not a privilege for those who can afford it.
Right now, we live in a country where pharmaceutical companies make billions in profits while working people have to crowd-source funding to cover their health care costs. And, despite all the money we’re spending, Americans still have worse health outcomes compared to other countries. It doesn’t have to be this way.
We have the means to streamline our bloated, cumbersome health care system by expanding Medicare—a program that already works—to cover every American. Making Medicare universal and expanding and improving it is the surest way to guarantee health care for all. I think it’s hard for people even to imagine removing the whole nightmare of paying for health care and turning it into a public good we all pay for fairly through the tax system, so that everyone can simply go to the doctor, therapist and dentist whenever they need to and obtain any necessary medication, hearing aids, eyeglasses and so forth as a matter of right. That is why I am an original cosponsor of the Medicare for All Act and a proud champion for the cause as a member of the Progressive Caucus, serving as Deputy Whip in the 116th Congress.
At the same time, until we achieve that big picture change, we have to defend and expand the Affordable Care Act to protect people with pre-existing conditions and lower out-of-control drug costs. That’s why I introduced the bipartisan STOP GAMES Act, which would prevent drug companies from gaming the system and help cheaper, generic drugs come to market faster.
I have also fought to improve access to mental health services, particularly for veterans. I worked across the aisle to introduce the VA Emergency Department Safety Planning Act, which aims to cut veteran suicides significantly by ensuring that emergency room personnel are effectively implementing safety plans and follow-ups for veterans deemed to be at risk of suicide and address disparities in suicide prevention programs. The president signed the VA Emergency Department Safety Planning Act into law in October 2020 as part of the Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act, a comprehensive mental health care reform bill for United States veterans.
The COVID-19 Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed deep inequalities in our society’s economic, health care and political systems. I believe that Congress must continue to respond to the pandemic with comprehensive legislation that protects the public’s health and provides economic relief to families and small businesses.
I called for a bold federal response to COVID-19 from the earliest days of the pandemic. I pressed for the President to invoke the Defense Production Act to facilitate the efficient mass production and allocation of testing materials, personal protective equipment (PPE) and critical medical devices. I voted to pass the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which ensured that all individuals who need a test, including those with Medicare and Medicaid, have access to one at no cost, and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act, which provided economic relief to small businesses and unemployed workers and provided $1,200 in cash assistance to every adult. I hosted virtual calls with community leaders and small businesses to help them understand how to utilize these new funds and took their feedback for future legislation.
After the passage of the CARES Act, I continued to advocate for legislation addressing the pandemic. I introduced the Coronavirus Containment Corps Act with Senator Elizabeth Warren to stand up a national contact tracing program and employ appropriately diverse, local workers to help reduce the spread of the virus in their communities. I also introduced the Relaunching America’s Workforce Act to authorize funding to help workers sharpen their skills and quickly re-enter the workforce. To prevent state and local governments from budget shortfalls that could force cuts to critical services, I worked with my colleagues to introduce the Coronavirus Community Relief Act, which would provide $250 billion to state and local governments to cushion the economic impact of the pandemic. I also sponsored the COVID-19 WIC Safety and Modernization Act, my bipartisan legislation to update the WIC program and ensure moms and their babies have safe access to food during the pandemic.
In close partnership with House Democratic leadership, I worked to have key provisions of these bills incorporated into the original and updated HEROES Act, the comprehensive relief legislation passed by the House of Representatives in May and October of 2020.
Early in the pandemic, it became clear that libraries were both providing much-needed services to members of their community and struggling under the weight of the pandemic. In partnership with libraries at the local, state, and national level I introduced the Library Stabilization Fund Act, which creates a $2 billion stabilization fund to bolster library services and address revenue losses. The Library Stabilization Fund Act would keep nearly 370,000 library workers on the job; help libraries purchase cleaning and PPE supplies and train staff for safe re-opening; expand technology and services to keep library users connected; and strengthen collections and programs to address needs such as remote learning, early literacy, job skills and access to government services. I was honored to be named Legislator of the Year by the Michigan Library Association and to accept the award virtually at my hometown library in Bloomfield Township.
We must treat our nation’s gun violence epidemic like the public health crisis that it is. After the Sandy Hook school shooting, we said never again. After the Orlando nightclub shooting, we said never again. After the Parkland, FL shooting, we said never again. Thoughts and prayers are no longer—and have never been—enough.
During my first term I immediately became a member of the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, and I voted to pass the Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2019, a bill that addresses the “Charleston Loophole,” which currently allows the sale of a firearm to proceed if a background check is not completed within three business days. The Enhanced Background Checks Act included an amendment I wrote to ensure oversight and reporting of the background check program. I also supported legislation that would have expanded research and reporting on firearms, banned bump stocks and provided resources to both the survivors of gun violence and the families of those who have lost loved ones to gun violence.
More on Health
WARREN, MI – Today Congressman Andy Levin (MI-09) announced a list of ten local projects he has submitted to the House Appropriations Committee for funding consideration. The committee is providing an opportunity for members of Congress to submit funding requests for community projects from their districts.
“These projects would improve the water quality of Lake St. Clair; fund education and certification programming for adult learners; extend the life of local roads; replace lead service lines; and much more,” said Rep. Levin.
WARREN, MI – Congressman Andy Levin (MI-09), member of the House Education & Labor Committee, released the following statement as details of the American Families Plan became public ahead of President Joe Biden’s Joint Address to Congress:
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today Congressman Andy Levin (MI-09), a member of the Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions Subcommittee of the House Education & Labor Committee, introduced legislation to lower drug prices by closing a loophole pharmaceutical companies have used to delay the approval of generic drugs.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Andy Levin (D-MI) today announced legislation that would modernize the Women, Infant, and Children (WIC) supplemental nutrition program. The Building a Better WIC Act would invest $20 million in the WIC program to upgrade technology and infrastructure that will bring WIC into the 21st century while promoting convenience, safety and equitable access to supplemental foods for the most vulnerable Americans.
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Andy Levin (MI-09) hosted a Facebook Live event after the passage of the American Rescue Plan, which President Biden signed into law this afternoon. This bill will meet the scale of the unprecedented crises facing this nation, delivering health and economic resources to families and the robust, transformative stimulus that economists say is needed to jumpstart our economy.
WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Andy Levin (MI-09) voted to pass President Biden’s American Rescue Plan and deliver long-awaited, comprehensive COVID-19 relief. Several of his legislative priorities were included in the final package that passed the House today.
WARREN, MI – Tonight, Congressman Andy Levin (MI-09) hosted a virtual town hall with hundreds of attendees to provide updates on upcoming COVID relief legislation and fallout from the January 6 Capitol insurrection. Constituent questions ranged from vaccine distribution, redistricting, how raising the minimum wage would work in the economy and more.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Michigan Democratic Congressional Delegation today called on State Legislative Leader Shirkey and Speaker Wentworth to act on the funding passed by Congress to help Michigan families and businesses during the COVID-19 crisis.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Andy Levin (D-MI), member of the House Education & Labor Committee, and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) sent a letter to Senate and House leadership to underscore the critical need to expand our public health workforce as they begin crafting legislation to execute President Biden’s American Rescue Plan.