Promoting Quality, Affordable Health Care
Every Rhode Islander deserves high-quality, affordable health care. The Affordable Care Act brought health insurance to millions of Americans, but there is still work to be done to lower costs and improve results. We need to build on the ACA and protect and strengthen Medicare and Medicaid to ensure that Rhode Islanders are healthy and financially secure.
The Affordable Care Act is Working for Rhode Island:
Passage of the Affordable Care Act was a watershed moment for improving access to health care. I will continue to oppose cynical attempts to repeal or weaken the law. Here are some of the ways that the Affordable Care Act is working for Rhode Island:
- Since 2012, the uninsured rate in Rhode Island has dropped from 11 percent to below 5 percent, a record low.
- Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies can no longer deny coverage because of preexisting conditions, limit the amount of care patients receive in a year, or charge women higher premiums than men for the same coverage.
- Rhode Island's state-based health insurance exchange, HealthSource RI, allows Rhode Islanders to shop for affordable health insurance coverage that meets their needs. You can find more information about enrolling in coverage through HealthSource RI here.
- To strengthen the Affordable Care Act, I introduced the CHOICE Act to add a government-administered option to the health care market, guaranteeing Americans in every zip code access to affordable, high-quality health insurance.
Generations of American workers have counted on Medicare to help pay for health care in retirement. Workers pay into the system knowing it will be there for them when they need it. To protect this promise, I am fighting for reforms to Medicare that would bring down costs and improve care, while protecting benefits for seniors.
- I helped lead the successful fight to close the dreaded Medicare Part D prescription drug "doughnut hole," which left seniors without coverage for a large share of their prescription drug costs. As a result, Rhode Islanders have saved more than $76 million since 2010.
- We have to do more to lower prescription drug prices, especially for seniors. I support allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices through the Empowering Medicare Seniors to Negotiate Drug Prices Act, which could cut costs for nearly 43 million seniors.
- Seniors on Medicare who suffer from advanced illnesses need the best care possible. My Removing Barriers to Person- and Family-Centered Care Act would test a new payment model that promotes better coordination between health care providers, and prioritizes the needs and preferences of Medicare beneficiaries with advanced illnesses.
Addressing Mental Health and the Opioid Crisis:
Millions of Americans suffer from mental illness and substance abuse, and too many lack access to treatment. I am working to ensure that patients have mental health care coverage, and to combat the opioid drug epidemic that has gripped Rhode Island families from all walks of life.
- I worked across the aisle to write and pass the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, which addresses addiction for what it is: a disease in need of treatment. The law gives those on the front lines of the ongoing opioid abuse epidemic better tools to prevent drug abuse, treat addiction, reduce overdose deaths, and support those on the long, noble path to recovery.
- I helped secure almost $40 million in funding from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to fight opioid addiction in Rhode Island. That substantial boost in funding resulted from changes I fought for that ensure states hardest hit by the epidemic get more support.
- To build our pediatric mental health workforce, I successfully advocated for changes that allow children's hospitals to receive funding to train the next generation of doctors. Bradley Hospital in East Providence qualified for new federal funding thanks to these reforms.
- I authored and passed legislation to encourage behavioral health providers, like psychologists and psychiatric hospitals, to adopt technology that will better coordinate patient care.
- To help end discrimination against people suffering from mental illness, I advocated for the landmark Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, which requires insurance plans to cover mental health and substance abuse treatment, just as they cover physical health care.
Investing in Research:
Federal investments in medical research benefit Rhode Island's first-rate academic and research institutions, bolster local economies, and advance life-saving treatments.
- To ensure that medical research keeps pace with demand, I support the National Biomedical Research Act to create a research trust fund to sustain investments in the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other federal agencies that conduct medical research.
- I drafted the Recalcitrant Cancer Research Act to improve the National Institutes of Health's strategic planning to address the deadliest cancers, like pancreatic cancer, for which little progress has been made in detection and treatment. President Obama signed my bill into law in 2012.
- I authored bipartisan the Accelerating the End of Breast Cancer Act to help identify promising breakthroughs in breast cancer research and encourage collaboration between the public and private sectors to find a cure.
Achieving Better Health Outcomes for Rhode Islanders:
I am proud of Rhode Island’s leadership in delivering excellent, innovative health care. I’m working with our state's health care professionals and across the aisle in the Senate to support Rhode Island's role as a national leader in improving the delivery of care.
- I drafted the Patient Safety Improvement Act to prevent infections in hospitals, address the overuse of antibiotics, which would save lives and money.
- I fully support the Children's Health Insurance Program, which provides secure, high-quality coverage for more than 30,000 children in Rhode Island, and our community health centers, which have received tens of millions of dollars to expand high-quality primary care and dental services.
HealthSource RI Open Enrollment Information
If your employer doesn't offer affordable health insurance, you may be eligible to sign up for coverage through Rhode Island's state-based health insurance marketplace, HealthSource RI.
Customers can sign up or renew coverage online at HealthSourceRI.com or over the phone at 1-855-840-4774. Visit HealthSource RI's savings calculator to find out if you are eligible for financial assistance.