May 15, 2019


House Democratic Caucus Chair Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) and Caucus Vice Chair Katherine Clark (D-MA) held the House Democratic leadership’s weekly press conference where they outlined House Democrats’ blueprint to lower the skyrocketing price of prescription drugs, crack down on junk plans and put an end to the sabotage of the health care of hard-working Americans.

CHAIRMAN JEFFRIES: […] This is a big week for the American people because House Democrats are going to follow up on keeping our promise to lower health care costs for everyday Americans, to protect people with pre-existing conditions, to strengthen the Affordable Care Act and to continue our effort to drive down the high cost of lifesaving prescription drugs. 

The one thing that is clear to every single member of the House Democratic Caucus when we go back home to our districts, as we did this past weekend, is that the American people want us to find a solution to the high cost of prescription drugs that they pay in a manner that far exceeds any other country in the world. And the reason why we pay such high costs for lifesaving prescription drugs is because for far too long, big pharma and related special interests have dominated the health care debate here in Washington, D.C. It certainly has been the case under a Republican-controlled House of Representatives. Those days are over.

Tomorrow we will bring to the floor, under the leadership of Chairman Frank Pallone, a comprehensive bill that will protect Americans with pre-existing conditions. More than 100 million people in this country are dealing with pre-existing conditions like heart disease, cancer and diabetes. The Republicans and the Trump administration want to take away that protection by pushing forward a baseless lawsuit to declare the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional.

We as House Democrats believe we should drive down the costs of lifesaving prescription drugs, health care and make sure that we protect Americans with pre-existing conditions. And so tomorrow will crystallize what we're about as House Democrats and what they've been about, which is to try to take away health care from everyday Americans. It was the defining issue of the November midterm elections. We understand that we've made promises to the American people. We intend to keep those promises and we will take a substantial step in that direction this week.


VICE CHAIR CLARK: […] These short-term health plans that my Republican colleagues have been using as a substitute for the robust, comprehensive health care coverage we see through the ACA – not a single one of these plans that are currently offered have core benefits like maternal health benefits, and coming from my home state where we have seen such an impact on families from the opioid crisis, we also want to make sure that people have a way to access health care, have a way to access treatment. None of this is available in these short-term plans. And that is why Democrats are taking such a stand this week to say let's make these truly short-term and limit them to three months. And as we are seeing states roll back reproductive freedoms for women, our emphasis is on increasing access to health care, to birth control and making sure that children have health insurance. These are the core values the American public told us in the midterms they want Congress to focus on and they are the ones that we are continuing to make the priority in the House here in Congress and this week.

I also want to highlight that we are going to be passing on Friday in the House the Equality Act. Over half of all Americans have no protections for fundamental rights. Whether that's being able to get a mortgage for a house, being able to have access to education, being able to keep your job and be protected from discrimination just because you are a person that is LGBTQ and you want to be able to live your life with equal opportunity. That is what we're going to pass on Friday. This is an important first step to expanding our basic fundamental civil rights in this country.

Video of the full press conference and Q&A can be viewed here.