Rep. Lee Hosts Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen in Pittsburgh for Tour of Cancer Screening Center, Roundtable on Lowering Health Care Costs

Feb 13, 2024
Press

**For IMMEDIATE RELEASE**

Contact: Emilia.Rowland@mail.house.gov

Rep. Lee Hosts Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen in Pittsburgh for Tour of Cancer Screening Center, Roundtable on Lowering Health Care Costs

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Rep. Lee hosted Secretary Yellen in West Penn Hospital. Together, they toured the cancer screening facility, participated in a healthcare listening roundtable with union nurses, and then delivered remarks on current efforts to lower health care costs further. This marks Secretary Yellen’s first trip to Pittsburgh during Congresswoman Summer Lee’s term, as they highlighted ongoing efforts to make our health care system more just for patients and the employees making it operate.

Watch full remarks here

“For the more than 1 million Pennsylvanians with diabetes –  76,000 folks in my district alone –  we won the fight to ensure that if you have health insurance, you’ll pay no more than $35  for your  insulin. Now we’re fighting to cap the price of insulin and other expensive medication for EVERY person no matter their insurance status and expand these caps to the other medications you need to keep your family healthy” said Rep. Summer Lee (PA–12). “For the 2.8 million Medicare beneficiaries in PA, we won the fight to give Medicare the power to negotiate dramatically lower costs for the 10 most expensive medications to treat blood clots, diabetes and more – which is why I’m in Congress fighting to expand Medicare coverage to EVERY American.”

“The President and I believe it’s unacceptable that some Americans need to choose between their health and other needs, like putting food on the table. And this isn’t just a public health issue. It’s an economic one. As Treasury Secretary, I see the strain that high health care costs can put on family budgets. And I know that families need more breathing room and having affordable health care leads to stronger financial security for middle class families. It saves Americans in our country money.” said Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen. “And for all these reasons the President and I are committed to ensuring that Americans can afford the care that they deserve.”

Background

Thanks to the Biden Administration and Congressional Democrats, enhanced healthcare subsidies provided through the American Rescue Plan and Inflation Reduction Act are having a tremendous impact in PA-12. 

  • Individuals with ACA marketplace health insurance coverage in the district will pay on average $2,130 in premiums this year. Without the enhanced subsidies provided through the IRA, the average premium would have increased to $3,270, an increase of 54%.
    • A 60-year-old couple with a household income of $80,000 will save $20,308 in premiums this year, avoiding a 360% increase in premiums.
    • A family with a 35-year-old single parent with one child, and a household income of $30,000 will save $1,272 in premiums this year, avoiding a 757% increase in premiums.
  • A family with two 40-year-old adults, two children, and a household income of $75,000 will save $3,096 in premiums this year, avoiding an 86% increase in premiums.

Rep. Lee has fought for hospital workers, fighting hospital monopolization, and expanding health care since her time in the State House of Pennsylvania,, where she worked with hospital workers and patients to organize a takeover of UPMC’s board meeting and walkout that helped to push then-AG Shapiro to broker a historic deal to ensure millions of Highmark and UPMC patients did not lose access to care. She also founded the Pittsburgh Hospital Workers Taskforce along with State Rep. Sara Innamurato and held a hearing on Pittsburgh’s hospital workforce crisis [full video], roundtables with state and local electeds, and regularly joined workers at rallies. Weeks into her first term in Congress, Lee partnered with State Rep. Sara Innamorato and the American Economic Liberties Project on a report titled ​​Critical Condition: How UPMC’s Monopoly Power Harms Workers and Patients

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In February 2023, Rep. Lee hosted Secretary Health and Human Services (HHS) Xavier Becerra for a community roundtable on lowering health care costs for Pittsburgh seniors with community leaders, health advocates, seniors, and homecare workers. Then in May, Rep. Lee announced the introduction of her first bill, the Hazard Pay for Health Care Heroes Act, co-led by Reps. Ro Khanna (CA-17) and Barbara Lee (CA-12). Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) introduced the companion in the Senate. The bicameral legislation would empower the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to issue grants related to a hazard pay of up to $13 per hour / $25,000 per year and implement additional safety measures, such as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and alternative transit, for essential workers in health care and supporting services who are providing patients with immediate or undisrupted medical assistance during emergencies and extreme weather disasters. The legislation would be applicable to the full spectrum of workers in health care that make high quality health care possible, including home care workers, medical technologists, nurses, doctors, and environmental services staff.


Since taking office in January, Lee, who serves on the House Oversight Committee and Space, Science and Technology Committee, has delivered historic levels of federal investment totaling over $1 Billion brought back to Western PA, including over $200 million for infrastructure, over $50 million for affordable transit, and over $500 million to keep clean energy manufacturing at home in Pennsylvania. These investments will help improve Western Pennsylvania’s infrastructure and transit, ensure cleaner air and drinking water, lower housing costs, fund research institutions, fuel clean manufacturing, fund STEM innovation and entrepreneurship, boost workforce development, and create thousands of good paying union jobs.  Lee and her team have also delivered casework and constituent services to over 1,600 constituents with issues ranging from helping our seniors and disabled community access Medicare and social security to helping folks secure housing and helping families with immigration support and passports.

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