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Improving Our Health Care

Gary has consistently fought to make health care more affordable. In his first term in Congress, he was proud to vote for the Affordable Care Act, and has since worked to build on this law. Gary has been a vocal advocate for reproductive rights and abortion access for millions of Michigan women. He has worked to lower the cost of prescription drugs, reduce drug shortages by leveling the playing field for generics, and expand access to opioid treatment for adolescents. He will continue working to build a more equitable and effective health care system for all Michiganders. 

Expanding Access to Quality Health Care

During his first term in Congress, Gary voted to enact the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which drastically reduced the number of uninsured Michiganders. The ACA prevented insurance companies from discriminating against people with preexisting medical conditions, dropping consumers’ coverage when they get sick, and charging women and older Americans more for health care. It also allowed young people to remain on their parents’ health plans until age 26.

Gary recognizes that the ACA is not perfect and he has supported efforts to address parts of the health care law so it works better for Michigan families and businesses. But he also knows that the ACA has helped half a million Michiganders access health insurance and provided vital protections to 1.78 million people across the state with preexisting health conditions. For that reason, he’s worked hard to defend the ACA from numerous attacks. Gary voted against efforts to repeal the ACA and spoke out several times against these proposals on the Senate floor that would end protections for people with preexisting conditions and raise health care costs.

With over 2 million Michiganders receiving Medicare benefits, Senator Peters is committed to strengthening and protecting the program. He supports investing in prevention, promoting efficiencies, and adopting cost-saving technologies in order to protect Medicare benefits while extending its solvency. He strongly supports Medicaid expansion through the Affordable Care Act, which hundreds of thousands of Michiganders rely on for coverage under the Healthy Michigan plan.

Protecting Reproductive Health

Gary believes a woman has a fundamental right to make her own decisions about her reproductive health with her doctor—without interference from politicians or judges. In 2020, Gary became the first U.S. Senator to publicly share his family’s personal abortion story.

He adamantly opposed the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization which repealed Roe v. Wade and jeopardized access to vital health care for millions of women across the country. Gary has championed the Women’s Health Protection Act, federal legislation to restore the right to comprehensive reproductive health care. Gary also spoke out against efforts to ban mifepristone, a widely-used abortion medication approved by the FDA two decades ago.

Furthermore, Gary is working to improve maternal health outcomes in Michigan. He is a cosponsor of the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act, which would make critical investments to address social determinants of health, provide funding for community-based organizations, grow and diversify the perinatal health workforce, and expand access to maternal mental health care.

Prescription Drugs

Gary recognizes that the cost of prescription drugs is far too high. In 2022, he helped pass into law the Inflation Reduction Act, which reduces drug costs for seniors on Medicare. It allows Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices, limits annual out-of-pocket prescription drug costs, caps the price of insulin at $35 per month, and offers no-cost vaccines to seniors. The new law also holds accountable drug companies that hike the price of their drugs faster than inflation by requiring them to pay a rebate to Medicare. In short, this law will save Michiganders money on prescription drugs.

In addition, through his role as Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Gary unveiled two reports in 2019 and 2023 on skyrocketing prescription drug prices, drug shortages, and related national security concerns. In a warning before the COVID-19 pandemic, Gary’s report concluded that drug pricing, shortages, and sourcing 80% of the active ingredients for American pharmaceuticals from foreign sources have contributed to a growing public health threat. In response, he has proposed a comprehensive assessment of pharmaceutical supply chain problems and related national security risks, as well as legislation to mitigate the threat posed by our nation’s overreliance on foreign suppliers, including those based in China, for critical medications.

Gary helped pass and enact two bipartisan bills to improve access to generics as part of the larger 2020 government funding package. The first, the Affordable Insulin Approvals Now Act, will bring cheaper version of insulin to market more quickly through a fix to the FDA review process. With a more than 600 percent price increase over the past 15 years, unaffordable insulin has impacted nearly 7.5 million Americans—including Michiganders with diabetes, who depend on daily insulin treatments to lead healthy, fulfilling lives. The second, the CREATES Act, will prevent drug companies from blocking the development of generics.

Keeping Us Safe from COVID-19 and Future Pandemics

As Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Gary is focused on protecting the health and safety of Michiganders. Before COVID-19 began spreading in the United States, Gary pressed the Department of Homeland Security to provide details on the Administration’s plan to protect the American people during a potential outbreak. In a report released in December 2019, Gary raised the alarm about our nation’s overreliance on foreign manufacturers for key medications and supplies, and urged action to address vulnerabilities in the American medical supply chain – vulnerabilities that have been increasingly heightened because of the pandemic.

Gary has called for robust funding for pandemic preparedness and response efforts, reappoint a global health security expert to the National Security Council, and to reimburse states and localities for costs incurred while responding to the COVID-19 outbreak — all before the first confirmed case spread within the United States. In addition, he helped pass numerous COVID-19 relief packages—including the American Rescue Plan Act, the CARES Act, and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act — which provided necessary resources for hospitals and health care providers, testing, treatments, and vaccination efforts.

Although the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency ended on May 11, 2023, Gary continues his work to make sure that all individuals have continued access to lifesaving protections such as vaccines, treatments, and tests, and that the nation is well prepared to manage the risks of COVID-19 going forward. In addition, in December 2022, as Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Gary released a new report detailing the findings of his two-year investigation into the federal government’s initial response to COVID-19. The report identified significant failures in the federal government’s initial response to the pandemic in those early, yet critical, months and offered recommendations for Congress and the federal government to bolster our preparedness and response for future public health crises. Gary will continue fighting to ensure that our country is better prepared for future pandemics.