A Conversation with US Senator Ron Wyden
US Senator Ron Wyden is the Chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction over Medicare and other elements of the US health care system. If health reform is going to move through this Congress, it’s going to pass through — and likely start — in his committee.
Sen. Wyden discussed the Senate Finance Committee’s policy agenda and his thoughts on the road through a closely divided Congress during the 2021 State of Reform Federal Health Policy Conference last week.
Looking toward the future, Wyden says lowering the cost of prescription drugs is a top priority for the Finance Committee. Specifically, he points to a bill he wrote with Sen. Chuck Grassley aimed at keeping the cost of insulin down. Wyden also highlighted Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s bill which seeks to allow Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices.
When asked about the wide range of health policy ideas within both the Democratic conference and the full Senate, Wyden said he sees areas where broad support is possible. Creating choices for Americans that add more accountability to the health care system, create more competition, and that contain costs are popular for a lot of lawmakers, he says.
“I see across the political spectrum, moderates and liberals, a recognition that we ought to have more choices for workers. 160 million people get their care through the employer-based system. I say if that’s what somebody wants, more power to them. I think we also ought to work to have more choices.”
Wyden’s full keynote remarks are available above or at this link.