Senator Shaheen believes that we must transform our health care system to provide better care at a lower cost. She voted in favor of the 2010 Affordable Care Act (ACA) to making essential changes to our health care system, and she’s since led efforts to update and improve the ACA, leading the charge that made the most significant improvement to the ACA in a decade.
In the 117th Congress, Senator Shaheen successfully secured premium tax credit enhancement provisions from her legislation, the Improving Health Insurance Affordability Act, in COVID-19 relief legislation, the American Rescue Plan and the Inflation Reduction Act. Shaheen’s provision extends enhanced tax credits to lower premiums and make purchasing health insurance more affordable for millions of low- and middle-income Americans. Those provisions led to record Marketplace enrollment in 2023. The Improving Health Insurance Affordability Act as standalone legislation builds on Shaheen’s efforts by making these tax credits permanent while also lowering out-of-pocket costs for Marketplace enrollees. These provisions stand to expand access to health care and lower costs for tens of thousands of Granite Staters and millions of Americans.
The ACA has made a significant impact on the lives of many Americans. No longer can health insurance companies put lifetime dollar limits on health benefits or drop coverage if someone gets sick. All Americans can no longer be denied coverage if they have a pre-existing condition, and parents can keep their children on their insurance plans up to age 26. Small businesses across New Hampshire have been able to take advantage of tax credits to help provide insurance for their employees, and seniors have seen a reduction in the price of prescription drugs and now have access to free annual wellness visits with their doctor.
Senator Shaheen recognizes that more work needs to be done to make care affordable and accessible. She remains committed to offering common sense ideas that will improve the quality of care people receive while containing costs.
Senator Shaheen is not afraid to stand up to the big drug companies. Throughout her career, she has initiated programs to lower prescription drug costs for consumers and the government. As Governor, she created a prescription drug program to provide relief for older adults struggling with the high cost of prescription drugs.
Senator Shaheen understands the consumer benefit to getting generic drugs to the marketplace through faster and easier channels and is working with her colleagues to improve access to generic drugs. She successfully fought to include her bipartisan Access to Affordable Medicines Act in the ACA and cosponsored legislation that would allow for the reimportation of prescription drugs from Canada and other countries. Shaheen also led a bipartisan bill in 2023 – the Ensuring Timely Access to Generics Act – to help lower the cost of prescription drugs by increasing competition for generic drugs through better oversight from the Food and Drug Administration. This bill is in addition to previous Shaheen efforts in 2019 and 2020 that would encourage competition in the drug marketplace and close loopholes used to keep cheaper, generic medication off the markets. Senator Shaheen will continue to fight for better access to affordable prescription drugs as long as Americans continue to struggle to pay for the medications they need.
Lowering the Cost of Insulin
As co-chair of the Senate Diabetes Caucus, addressing the soaring cost of insulin is a top priority for Senator Shaheen. In the Senate, Shaheen has helped lead action to advance priorities that will lower the costs of insulin, invest in treatment and prioritize diabetes research. Alongside Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) – also co-chair of the Senate Diabetes Caucus – Shaheen introduced the Improving Needed Safeguards for Users of Lifesaving Insulin Now (INSULIN) Act to lower the drug’s skyrocketing costs. The INSULIN Act would directly address the root problems in the insulin market causing high list prices, while simultaneously extending vital patient protections, fostering competition and broadening access to needed insulin products.
Reproductive Health Care
Senator Shaheen has fiercely defended women’s reproductive rights and health care for years in response to unrelenting attacks by Republican lawmakers and the previous administration under Donald Trump. When it became clear in the Fall of 2021 and last Spring that the Supreme Court would likely overturn Roe v. Wade, Shaheen held a press conference with the New Hampshire congressional delegation and Planned Parenthood of Northern New England to discuss reproductive freedom and the implications for reproductive health with the overturning of the landmark Supreme Court case.
Senator Shaheen is continuing to explore policy proposals that will safeguard women’s comprehensive access to reproductive health care and to defend their reproductive rights. She is a cosponsor of the Women’s Health Protection Act, legislation that would guarantee a woman’s right to access an abortion and the right of an abortion provider to deliver abortion services free from medically unnecessary restrictions that interfere with a patient’s choice or the provider-patient relationship. Shaheen also joined 240 Members of Congress in sending an amicus brief to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals urging the district court to stay a ruling threatening access to mifepristone nationwide. Shaheen has led and supported numerous efforts in the U.S. Senate in defense of women’s health. In 2023, She helped reintroduce the Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Healthcare (EACH) Act, a bicameral bill that would help guarantee abortion coverage—without restrictions—for millions of Americans. For years, Shaheen has fought to expand coverage of women’s reproductive health and successfully pushed an effort through Congress that was signed into law to ensure servicewomen have access to abortion care in cases of rape or incest. Shaheen also leads policy priorities that invest in preventative care, including through her legislation to reduce the cost of contraception for servicewomen and dependents in military families. Senator Shaheen authored an op-ed for the Union Leader underscoring the threats to women’s freedoms and rights in a post-Roe America, which can be read in full here. In March 2023, Shaheen spearhead the letter to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin on behalf of 37 U.S. Senators underscoring the serious national security imperatives tied to providing U.S. service members access to protected leave for abortion and reproductive health care services. Senator Shaheen is a leader in the fight to protect Title X family planning centers to ensure they have the resources needed to delivery comprehensive care to patients.
Coverage for Children
Access to quality health care is critical to a good start in life. As a State Senator and as Governor of New Hampshire, Senator Shaheen fought to ensure that children have access to the care they need. Under her leadership, New Hampshire launched the Children’s Health Insurance Program, known as CHIP, which provides affordable health and dental coverage to tens of thousands of New Hampshire children. In the United States Senate, she helped pass a major expansion of CHIP that expanded eligibility to cover an additional 9,300 children in New Hampshire. Senator Shaheen will continue working to ensure that children get the best quality health care possible.