Health Care & Disabilities
Health Care & Disabilities
Since my election to Congress in 1996, healthcare has been an issue of great importance to me. Americans have some of the greatest healthcare in the world, and one of my priorities is that all Americans have access to that quality care. But America’s healthcare system is at a crossroads, faced with millions of uninsured citizens, rising costs, quality concerns and a lack of patient control – not to mention the continued consequences of ObamaCare’s failed policies.
Americans deserve better than a law that is harmful to our economy, harmful to job creation, and absolutely detrimental to our healthcare system. Since this disastrous law was implemented more than eight years ago, I have led the fight in the halls of Congress to stop it. I have voted more than 60 times to repeal, dismantle, and defund ObamaCare – a step towards victory for all Americans and job creators across the country.
North Texas families and businesses have been forced to face the damaging effects of Obamacare for far too long. Health insurance premiums are still skyrocketing and out of pocket costs are growing astronomically. As your Member of Congress, I am proud to say that I have worked hard over the past few years to advocate commonsense solutions to this crisis, particularly my legislation, H.R. 1275, the World’s Greatest Healthcare Plan. I am proud to acknowledge that this bill was developed and vetted by physicians across the country, including many from our congressional district. Under this bill, every American citizen is eligible to claim a $2,500 tax benefit as well as a $1,500 tax benefit per dependent minor. More specifically, this legislation would eliminate the ObamaCare individual and employer mandates and offer Americans an advanceable and refundable tax credit for health insurance premiums and Health Savings Accounts. For more information on my legislation, please visit this page on my website.
Ultimately, I believe all Americans deserve quality, affordable healthcare, and I can assure you that I will continue to work with my colleagues in Congress to advance constructive healthcare reform.
As the father of a young man with Down syndrome, I understand that each child has unique needs. I have worked tirelessly to ensure my son, Alex, has the ability to achieve a bigger, brighter future. That is why I have dedicated my life as a public servant to helping individuals like my son break through the glass ceiling and be the best that they can be.
As the Co-Chairman of the Congressional Down Syndrome Caucus, I am proud of the strides we have made to better the lives of disabled individuals, their families, and caregivers. One of the greatest honors in my career was The Dylan Lee James Family Opportunity Act, which was signed into law in 2006, to give states the option to create a Medicaid “buy in” for families of children with disabilities whose family income or resources are were up to 300% of federal poverty level. In addition, after six long years of working with my colleagues, organizations, and families across the country in December 2014 we also passed the ABLE Act. This nearly decade-long legislative effort has allowed families who have a child with a disability to save for their long-term care through 529-style savings accounts. These two landmark pieces of legislation are two major victories for the disability community and I am so proud that I was able to be a part of these efforts.
In addition to my work with disability issues on Capitol Hill, I also work to support the disability community back home in Texas. As a board member of Best Buddies International and an Advisor to the President for Special Olympics Texas, I continue to work for increased development and social participation for individuals with disabilities. I have also been deeply honored to receive a number of awards for my work with the disabled community. In 2007, I was delighted to be featured as the Honoree at the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) Gala. In 2011, I was honored with the Quincy Jones Exceptional Advocacy Award from the Global Down Syndrome Foundation. In March 2013, I was honored to receive the NDSS 2013 Champion of Change Award. In July 2013, I was recognized as a 2013 NDSS Capitol Hill Superhero for my work on behalf of people with Down syndrome and other disabilities.
In regard to research, there are so many things that we still need to learn about this disability especially the link between Down syndrome and the Alzheimer’s disease. In October 2017, I had the opportunity to testify before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies as a father, as a Member of Congress, and as a fierce advocate for the disability community to discuss why I believe research in this area is critical to helping the disability community. My son is an Eagle Scout, an avid athlete, and the newest member of the Home Depot team in Dallas. Alex is like so many other individuals with Down syndrome who are active in their communities and who want to live their lives to the fullest. Thanks to the efforts of the NIH and individuals such as my dear friend, Dr. Bill Mobley, we have made great strides in research and improved the quality of life of individuals with intellectual disabilities; and I will fight to ensure they have the resources they need so we can break through the glass ceiling for the disability community.
Working to make North Texas Healthier
Obesity is something that has a direct impact on our economy, our health care system, and the health and wellbeing of our communities. This epidemic is starting younger and younger making childhood obesity more and more prevalent. Texas ranks number six in the nation for having the largest amount of obese children. As a result of obesity, our state alone spends $1.37 billion annually on medical costs. In April 2018 I organized a conference with Dr. Kenneth Cooper, leaders in the medical community, and experts in their respective fields to take a holistic approach to understand the causes of this disease and put forth effective solutions. I deeply appreciated the physicians who participated including Dr. Cooper, Dr. John T. Gill, Dr. Karl Rathjen, Dr. Jonathan Leffert, Dr. Rick Snyder, Dr. Lee Ann Pearse, Dr. Sarah Barlow, Dr. Olga Gupta, and Dr. David Teuscher. Each of these medical leaders brought a different perspective to the issue. I look forward to continuing working with them to combat childhood obesity and ensure North Texas kids have the opportunity to lead healthy, active lifestyles.
Here is the slideshow presentation from this event:
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