Op-Ed: Sen. Rick Scott
September 24, 2019
I talk A LOT about jobs. I truly believe that a job is the golden key. A job gave me and my family a shot at the American dream. And I want every American to have that same shot, no matter how they grew up.
My story began in public housing. I never knew my natural dad, and my adoptive father struggled to find work. We didn’t have health insurance, so when my brother was diagnosed with a rare disease, my mother struggled to get him the care he needed. Eventually, she found a charity hospital hours away from our home.
My experience growing up has shaped everything I’ve done in my life and how I think about the world—especially when it comes to issues like providing quality healthcare that families can afford. And at the end of the day, the best way to ensure access to quality healthcare for a family is to have access to good jobs. That’s why, as governor of Florida, I relentlessly focused on turning our state’s lagging economy around. Before I was elected, 832,000 Florida families lost their jobs and many couldn’t afford healthcare.
During my eight years as governor, we cut taxes, reduced burdensome regulations and cut nearly a third of state debt. And Florida businesses created nearly 1.7 million new jobs. That number represents families that now have an opportunity to succeed and have access to quality healthcare.
I’m focused on bringing this same approach to Washington. We have to keep our economy strong and pay down debt. We have to focus on creating jobs with good benefits, so every American can succeed. We have to look at our nation’s problems through this lens.
Beyond that, there are some commonsense things we can and should get done right now to start bringing down healthcare costs. Congress will never agree on everything, but we can and should all agree that a grand bargain almost never works. Look at the Affordable Care Act. That was a mistake we don’t need to make again. What we need to do is make real, incremental changes to create a more transparent, affordable healthcare system.
I’m working on several proposals that Congress can pass with bipartisan support right now to help Americans struggling to pay for healthcare.
To help reduce the burden of high drug prices, Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and I have a proposal that would prohibit pharmaceutical companies that use federal tax dollars to develop their drugs from charging American consumers unreasonable prices for those same drugs.
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) and I are working to make sure pharmaceutical companies cannot charge Americans more than consumers in other industrialized countries for the same prescription drugs. The fact that they are getting away with this right now is unacceptable. American consumers are subsidizing the low-cost drugs in Canada, Europe and Japan. That’s crazy and it needs to end.
I’m also working to get rid of surprise medical bills that have devastated families across the country and to create a consumer-friendly database of prescription drug prices. It’s time to make healthcare more transparent and affordable.
These aren’t earth-shattering ideas. They are real, simple solutions to bring down healthcare costs right now. Of course, there are those, including the pharmaceutical industry, that are against any real change.
But we can’t accept that. I refuse to sit idly by while American families struggle to afford the life-saving care and prescription drugs that they need.
SEN. RICK SCOTT (R-FLA.)
SERVING SINCE: 2019, still in his first term.
HEALTHCARE-RELATED COMMITTEES: Senate Budget Committee and the Special Committee on Aging.