Congresswoman Matsui has been a leader in Congress on a broad range of healthcare issues, from passing the Affordable Care Act, to reforming mental health care, to ensuring that medical research and the delivery system provide Americans with 21st Century cures and care.
The Congresswoman is a member of the House Energy & Commerce Health Subcommittee, which oversees agencies and writes laws pertaining to public health, health insurance, the regulation of food, drugs and cosmetics, medical research, health information technology, and more.
AFFORDABLE CARE ACT
At its core, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is about securing affordable, quality and accessible health care for all Americans. Congresswoman Matsui played a pivotal role in its passage, and has continued to advocate for its implementation, ensuring health care is a right, not a privilege.
There are a number of resources available to help people learn about their options through the Affordable Care Act.
Covered California is the entity operating California’s individual Marketplace and Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP). They have a comprehensive, easy to use website that provides all the information you might need for enrolling in affordable, quality health insurance coverage.
Healthcare.gov is the official Affordable Care Act website and provides easy-to-understand information. You can find insurance options, learn about prevention, compare health plan, and understand the law.
Prevention and Public Health
The Affordable Care Act ensures that preventive services are covered with no cost-sharing. Congresswoman Matsui believes that if we are able to catch diseases and conditions and intervene early, we can save lives. She led the effort to create the Prevention and Public Health Fund, which is the nation’s first mandatory funding stream dedicated to improving our public health system.
For over 50 years, the Medicaid program has successfully improved the ability of low-income Americans to access essential health services. Today, more than 72 million Americans depend on Medicaid or CHIP for their health insurance, with the vast majority of these enrollees being children, the disabled, or the elderly.
Congresswoman Matsui was a leader in the passage of the Affordable Care Act, which expanded Medicaid to millions of low-income Americans. She also led bipartisan efforts in 2015 to successfully extend funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which provides affordable, accessible health insurance to children.
COMPREHENSIVE MENTAL HEALTH REFORM
Enacting comprehensive mental and behavioral health reform is very personal to the Congresswoman, and one of her biggest priorities. She has led several legislative efforts related to mental health reform throughout her time in Congress, with the goal of reducing stigma and bringing mental health on a level playing field with physical health.
In 2014, Congresswoman Matsui’s landmark Excellence in Mental Health Act was passed into law. The legislation supports community behavioral health clinics that will better serve patients by integrating physical, mental, and substance abuse treatment. Congresswoman Matsui continues to work to expand the Excellence in Mental Health demonstration project, so that more states can have the opportunity to benefit from high-quality, evidenced-based, and community-driven mental health care. The Congresswoman has also advocated for legislation which would expand Mental Health First Aid training in communities to help emergency services personnel, police officers, educators, and the public identify, understand, and respond to mental health issues and disorders.
In 2016, Congresswoman Matsui joined with her colleagues on the House Energy & Commerce Committee to introduce comprehensive behavioral health care reform legislation. The legislation increases investments in services and resources across the entire spectrum of mental health and substance use disorder care. It reflects policy priorities put forth by Democratic members during ongoing Health Subcommittee efforts in Congress, including Congresswoman Matsui’s Including Families in Mental Health Recovery Act, which elevates and formalizes agency guidance on how HIPAA privacy rules apply in mental health scenarios.
The Congresswoman has also worked on bipartisan efforts to curb teen drug abuse through legislation such as the DXM Abuse Prevention Act of 2017.
Congresswoman Matsui believes in harnessing the power of technology to improve our health care system. She has worked on policies to ensure that health care providers utilize electronic health records and that those systems are “interoperable” so that providers can appropriately share electronic information. As a leading member of the bipartisan Energy & Commerce Telehealth Working Group, she has strongly advocated to expand access to telehealth and telemedicine services in the Medicare program, understanding that remote care can save time and money and improve quality of care. She is a leader on the bipartisan CONNECT for Health Act, which addresses a number of telehealth policies, including H.R. 3482 and H.R. 3727, which would allow for Medicare reimbursement of telehealth in traditional Medicare and Medicare Advantage, respectively. As we encourage innovation and connectivity in the health care world, Congresswoman Matsui is also working to ensure that health data is protected from cyber threats. She co-authored the HHS Data Protection Act, which would prioritize cybersecurity at the Department of Health and Human Services, and is working with industry and federal agencies to increase cybersecurity capacity in our health care system.
Congresswoman Matsui has been a consistent advocate for the expansion of medical research. She supports robust funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which conducts much of the basic science that leads to treatments and cures.
She was also a leader on the Energy and Commerce 21st Century Cures Act, which would modernize the research and development processes at both the NIH and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), while also funding those agencies to make needed changes, thereby allowing the most promising medical breakthroughs to reach those who need them the most. The Congresswoman has a particular interest in encouraging research for rare diseases, as lesser known conditions are often overlooked and under-researched.
Every five years, the Congresswoman works to reauthorize the Stem Cell Therapeutic and Research Act, which gives hope to thousands of Americans who suffer from life-threatening blood cancer or other bone marrow disorders by making possible life-saving transplants through the “Be a Match” National Registry. The Act was unanimously passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama in late 2015. To support this work, the Congresswoman co-founded the Congressional Caucus to Cure Blood Cancers and Other Blood Disorders.