Help support the Alexander-Murray Bill

The debate in Congress over whether to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act has been put aside, at least for now. It is time for the federal legislators to shift their focus to other pressing health care topics, providing the opportunity both for progress and to work together across the aisle. At St. Mary’s Healthcare, part of Ascension, SMH encourages Congress to work together to achieve healthcare coverage that provides care for the most poor and vulnerable.

SMH supports the Alexander-Murray bill. This important bill would shore up the individual health insurance market, provide states New York state more flexibility in covering their residents and allow more widespread availability of catastrophic plans.

SMH urges Congress Federal funding for Children’s Health Insurance Program. Both parties have already launched the process to extend funding for this vital program that provides coverage for lower-income children. Another pressing issue is federal support for Community Health Centers, which has always received strong bipartisan support, and SMH is encouraged by legislation that has been announced.

Two more issues — access to care for veterans and prescription drug pricing — also require urgent action. Regarding veterans, Congress in August provided emergency funding for the Veterans Choice Act and continues to depend on bipartisan support for reauthorization. SMH strongly support this important work. Pharmaceutical pricing continues to be a challenge, and several bipartisan proposals, such as the Creating and Restoring Equal Access to Equivalent Samples Act, work to eliminate barriers to generic competition and will reduce prices.

SMH calls on St. Mary’s Healthcare federal representatives and senators, with their colleagues across the aisle in Congress, to support the Alexander-Murray bill. SMH also urge our legislators to continue to fund CHIP, improve the Veterans Choice program, address high drug costs and forestall planned payment reductions to Medicaid disproportionate share hospitals.

VICTOR F. GIULIANELLI, FACHE

President and Chief Executive Officer SISTER JOAN MARY HARTIGAN, CSJ

Vice President, Mission Integration

St. Mary’s Healthcare, Amsterdam