Bill Nelson on Health Care

Last Updated : Oct 25, 2012

Summary

Patient's Bill of Rights

In 2001, Senator Nelson supported the Patient's Bill of Rights by stating that it simply addresses a grievous wrong under American law. This grievous wrong was that all health care providers are held accountable for their mistakes and their malpractice with the exception of HMOs. The Patients' Bill of Rights changed the law to hold HMOs accountable.

Medicare Part D

In June of 2003, Senator Nelson spoke on the Senate floor about his intention to vote in favor of Medicare part D. He noted that if Medicare had been written today and not in 1965, then it would include a prescription drug plan and it was reasonable to add one today.

Days before the final vote on the prescription drug plan, Senator Nelson again spoke in favor of the legislation. He stated that although this was not the legislation he would write, it was a start. He noted that there was merit in both criticisms that the bill did not cover enough medications and that it was too expensive. He also called it a first step in covering drug treatments and a major step for seniors across the country. He finished that floor speech by stating that a vote against the bill will leave tens of thousands of seniors in Nebraska without a prescription drug benefit of any kind.

Despite these statements, Senator Nelson voted against the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan just a few days later.

Price Negotiation

Just a few days after that vote, Senator Nelson was quoted in a press statement noting his opposition to the legislation and his view that the lack of an ability for Medicare to negotiate for bulk purchasing make the bill untenable. He stated that the bill provides only a limited drug benefit that's delayed until 2006 and had give-aways to big drug and insurance companies. Senator Nelson stated that we need to help our seniors buy life-saving drugs but taxpayers should not pay the drug industry's excessive profits. Senator Nelson proposed legislation to fix this problem.

In 2005, Senator Nelson stated that he and others were told that the cost of the plan would be $400 billion over a 10-year period, but the real cost had evolved to $720 billion. Senator Nelson again proposed that the government be allowed to negotiate price to bring down costs.

SCHIP

IN 2007, Senator Nelson spoke about his support for the SCHIP reauthorization calling it fruitful and common sense. He also noted his view that the program should cover legal immigrants and pregnant women and may go from 300,000 to 700,000 people. However, he is critical of the increase in the tobacco tax to pay for the program. He stated that there is a portion that is not fair, and that is the tax that is applied with some inequity across product lines. This inequality is the tax on cigars, which Florida serves as one of the largest importers and producers of.

In 2009, Senator Nelson again supported the legislation, noting that nationwide, in 1997 23.3 percent of low-income children were uninsured but by 2006, this number had dropped to 15.4 percent. However, he again objected to the inequal increase in taxes on cigars.

2009-2010 Reform

In June of 2009, Senator Nelson stated that there was an unprecedented opportunity to reform our health system and that tt had major flaws. He stated that in his view, access to health care was a right. He expressed support for a number of provisions that were included in the final form of the Affordable Care Act, such as the exchanges, preventing the exclusion of people for pre-existing conditions, and subsidies to low income people to purchase insurance. He also uses the term "universal health care," but does not seem to intend it to mean a single-payer system.

Throughout the health care reform process, Senator Nelson maintained his support for these ideas, and for the need for bipartisanship. He also stated that no matter where people stand on certain specifics of the issue of reforming health care, most all of us should agree the current system can be unfair and too costly. He stated that we can't afford to sit by and do nothing anymore and that he firmly believed the legislation will provide more affordable coverage for millions of uninsured Americans.

End of Life Care

Multiple times, Senator Nelson introduced legislation to address living wills and end of life care. However, these activities seem to have been prompted by the Terry Schaivo case and are independent of the Independent Payment Advisory Boards in the health care reform.

 

Patients Bill of Rights

In June of 2001 Senator Nelson spoke on the Senate floor about the patients bill of rights.

 

Medicare Prescription Drug Plan

In June of 2003, Senator Nelson spoke on the Senate floor in support of the Medicare Prescription Drug plan.

 

Voting for Medicare Part D

In November of 2003, Senator Nelson spoke on the Senate floor about his intentiont to vote in favor of the Medicare part D drug plan. He notes that it is not perfect and not the one he would write, but it gets the job done.

 

Support for Price Negotiation

In November of 2003, Senator Nelson released a press statement noting his support for allowing Medicare to negotiate volume discounts on drugs.

 

Support for Drug Reimportation

In April of 2004, Senator Nelson released a press statement noting his support for the reimportation of drugs from Canada, and questioning if restricting such importation was legal.

 

The Real Cost of Part D

In February of 2005, Senator Nelson spoke on the Senate floor noting the overall cost of Medicare part D and his view that some Democrats were misled on the cost of that program.

 

Support for Living Wills

In April of 2005, Senator Nelson released a press statement noting his support for legislation to pay for counseling on living wills.

 

Regulation of Insurance

In June of 2006, Senator Nelson spoke on the Senate floor about pending health care reform and the need to regulate the health insurance industry.

 

Siezing Drugs at the Border

In July of 2006, Senator Nelson released a press statement noting his support for a recent vote to stop US customs agents from seizing prescription drugs being brought by individuals into the US for their personal use. 

 

SCHIP and Tobacco Tax Application

In August of 2007, Senator Nelson spoke on the Senate floor about his intention to support the SCHIP legislation and his view that the tobacco tax was unbalanced in its application.

 

SCHIP and Tobacco Taxes

In September of 2007, Senator Nelson spoke on the Senate floor about the SCHIP program and the tobacco taxes put in place to pay for the program. He states that the tax is worth the program.

 

Concerns Remain over Funding

In January of 2009, Senator Nelson spoke on the Senate floor about his support for renewed efforts to pass the SCHIP reform and renewal. He also stated again thay he viewed the increase on cigars as unfair.

 

A Unique Opportunity

In June of 2009, Senator Nelson spoke on the Senate floor about the overall topic of health care reform and the opportunity being presented to reform the system.

 

Support of Reform

On September 16, 2009 Senator Nelson spoke on the Senate Floor in support of overall reform and in support of ensuring that people already in the Medicare / Medicaid system keep their current level of care.

 

Optimism for Reform

In September of 2009, Senator Nelson released a statement noting his optimism that health care reform can achieve it's goals.

 

CNN Appearance

On October 1, 2009 Senator Nelson appeared on CNN and discussed health care reform and it's affects on Medicare and Medicaid. He notes his vote in support of the public option.

 

Drug Reimportation

On December 9, 2009 Senator Nelson spoke on the Senate floor about his support for allowing the reimportation of prescription drugs from Canada and other sources.

 

Floor Speech on Drug Company Involvement

On December 14, 2009 Senator Nelson spoke on the Senate floor about the involvement of drug companies in health care reform.

 

Support for Reform Passage

In December of 2009, Senator Nelson released a statement noting the passage of the health care reform legislation.

 

Support for Senate Version of Bill

In early 2010, Senator Nelson was interviewed while at the University of Florida and stated that he supported the Senate version of the legislation and that the President should be more engaged with the House of Representatives.

 

Support for Final Passage

In March of 2010, Senator Nelson released a statement supporting the final passage of the health care reform legislation. He also spoke on the Senate floor about his support for the legisaltion.

 

Severability Clause

In February of 2011, Senator Nelson appeared on ABC News and discussed recent rulings on the health care reform legislation. He stated that the supreme court decision should be hurried to help settle the issue. He also stated that the legislation contained a severability clause to ensure that if part of the law is declared unconstitutitonal, the rest remains. The legislation does not contain such provisions.

 

Official Website Statements

 

Voting Record

Repeal of Health Care Reform

In February of 2011, the Senate voted on repealing the 2009-2010 health care reform legislation. The attempt failed on a party line vote . Bill Nelson voted against repealing the health care reform legislation.

Bill Nelson voted against repealing the health care reform legislation.

2009-2010 Health Care Reform - Reconciliation

The 2009-2010 health care reform legislation passed through the Senate in three votes. The first was to end the filibuster, the second was to pass the Senate bill, and the third was to pass the reconciliation bill.

Due to the death of Senator Kennedy and the election of Senator Brown in Massachussetts, the Democrats no longer possessed the 60 vote majority to break a filibuster. A reconciliation bill was passed to unify the Senate and House version and to enact the legislation. Bill Nelson voted in favor of passage of the reconciliation bill.

Bill Nelson voted in favor of passage of the reconciliation bill.

2009-2010 Health Care Reform - Passage

After the cloture vote to end the filibuster, a vote was taken to pass the legislation called "Obamacare" by its opponents. Bill Nelson in favor of final passage of the legislation.

Bill Nelson in favor of final passage of the legislation.

2009-2010 Health Care Reform - Cloture Vote

The first vote in the health care reform process was for cloture on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2009. This bill was different from the version that had recently passed through the House. Both votes went down party lines with all Democrats supporting the legislation and all Republicans opposing it. Bill Nelson voted in favor of the reform by voting for cloture.

Bill Nelson voted in favor of the reform by voting for cloture.

SCHIP

In addition to attempting overall health care reform, congress re-authorized SCHIP in 2009. SCHIP is a program to provide children with health care and fund it through tobacco taxes. The program passed with the full support of Democrats and roughly 1/4 of the Republicans. Bill Nelson voted in favor of SCHIP.

Bill Nelson voted in favor of SCHIP.

Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act

The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act sets up health requirements for tobacco products, sets labeling guidelines, requires tobacco companies to report the content of their products, and prescribes punishements for violating any rules. The measure passed the Senate 79-17. Bill Nelson voted in favor of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act.

Bill Nelson voted in favor of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act.

Amendment - Drug Reimportation

In July of 2006, a an amendment was voted on to prohibit the United States Customs and Border Protection from preventing an individual not in the business of importing a prescription drug from importing an FDA-approved prescription drug. Bill Nelson voted in favor of the amendment to prevent border patrol agents from taking prescription drugs from citizens crossing the border.

Bill Nelson voted in favor of the amendment to prevent border patrol agents from taking prescription drugs from citizens crossing the border.

Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003

The Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003 is sometimes called Medicare Part D. It was a sweeping reform that created plans for the senior citizens to purchase prescription drugs. The bill passed the Senate 54-44 Bill Nelson voted against Medicare Part D.

Bill Nelson voted against Medicare Part D.

 

Sponsored and Cosponsored Legislation

Session-111; Bill Number-S 369; Preserve Access to Affordable Generics Act - Cosponsor

Amends the Clayton Act to make it unlawful for a person, in connection with the sale of a drug product, to be a party to any agreement resolving or settling a patent infringement claim in which: (1) an abbreviated new drug (generic) application filer receives anything of value; and (2) such filer agrees not to research, develop, manufacture, market, or sell the generic product for any period. Excludes a resolution or settlement that includes no more than the right to market the generic product prior to the expiration of the patent. Authorizes the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to exempt certain such agreements if they are in furtherance of market competition and for the benefit of consumers. Amends the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003 to set forth additional filing requirements related to agreements between a brand name drug company and a generic drug applicant. Requires the Chief Executive Officer or the company official responsible for negotiating any agreement to file a certification that materials filed with respect to such agreements are complete, final, and exclusive. Amends the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to provide that forfeiture of the 180-day exclusivity period for the marketing of a generic drug occurs if there is a final decision of the FTC or the court that an agreement has violated this Act.

Session-111; Bill Number-S 525; A bill to amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act with respect to the importation of prescription drugs, and for other purposes - Cosponsor

Amends the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) to revise provisions governing the importation of prescription drugs. Waives the limitation on importation of prescription drugs that have been exported from the United States. Prohibits the importation of a qualifying drug unless such drug is imported by: (1) a registered importer; or (2) an individual for personal use. Establishes registration conditions for importers and exporters.

Session-111; Bill Number-S 391; Healthy Americans Act - Cosponsor

Requires each adult individual to have the opportunity to purchase a Healthy Americans Private Insurance Plan (HAPI), which is: (1) a plan offered by a state; or (2) an employer-sponsored health coverage plan. Makes individuals who are not enrolled in another specified health plan and who are not opposed to coverage for religious reasons responsible for enrolling themselves and their dependent children in a HAPI plan offered through their state of residence. Sets forth penalties for failure to enroll.

Session-111; Bill Number-S 266; Medicare Prescription Drug Gap Reduction Act of 2009 - Prime Sponsor

Amends title XVIII (Medicare) of the Social Security Act (SSA) to reduce the coverage gap in prescription drug coverage under SSA part D (Voluntary Prescription Drug Benefit Program), based on savings to the Medicare program resulting from the negotiation of prescription drug prices. Grants the Secretary of Health and Human Services authority similar to that of other federal entities that purchase prescription drugs in bulk to negotiate contracts with manufacturers of covered part D drugs. States that the Secretary shall be required to: (1) negotiate contracts with manufacturers of covered part D drugs for each fallback prescription drug plan; and (2) participate in negotiation of contracts of any covered part D drug upon request of an approved prescription drug plan or Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug Plan.

Session-110; Bill Number-S 242; Pharmaceutical Market Access and Drug Safety Act of 2007 - Cosponsor

A bill to amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act with respect to the importation of prescription drugs, and for other purposes.

Session-109; Bill Number-S 2354; Medicare Prescription Drug Gap Reduction Act of 2006 - Prime Sponsor

A bill to amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to reduce the coverage gap in prescription drug coverage under part D of such title based on savings to the Medicare program resulting from the negotiation of prescription drug prices.

Session-109; Bill Number-S 347; Advance Directives Improvement and Education Act of 2005 - Prime Sponsor

A bill to amend titles XVIII and XIX of the Social Security Act and title III of the Public Health Service Act to improve access to information about individuals' health care operations and legal rights for care near the end of life, to promote advance care planning and decisionmaking so that individuals' wishes are known should they become unable to speak for themselves, to engage health care providers in disseminating information about and assisting in the preparation of advance directives, which include living wills and durable powers of attorney for health care, and for other purposes.

Session-108; Bill Number-s 2545; Advance Directives Improvement and Education Act of 2004 - Prime Sponsor

A bill to amend titles XVIII and XIX of the Social Security Act and title III of the Public Health Service Act to improve access to information about individuals' health care options and legal rights for care near the end of life, to promote advance care planning and decisionmaking so that individuals' wishes are known should they become unable to speak for themselves, to engage health care providers in disseminating information about and assisting in the preparation of advance directives, which include living wills and durable powers of attorney for health care, and for other purposes.

Session-109; Bill Number-S 347; Advance Directives Improvement and Education Act of 2005 - Prime Sponsor

A bill to amend titles XVIII and XIX of the Social Security Act and title III of the Public Health Service Act to improve access to information about individuals' health care operations and legal rights for care near the end of life, to promote advance care planning and decisionmaking so that individuals' wishes are known should they become unable to speak for themselves, to engage health care providers in disseminating information about and assisting in the preparation of advance directives, which include living wills and durable powers of attorney for health care, and for other purposes.

Session-110; Bill Number-S 465; Advance Directives Improvement and Education Act of 2007 - Prime Sponsor

A bill to amend titles XVIII and XIX of the Social Security Act and title III of the Public Health Service Act to improve access to information about individuals' health care options and legal rights for care near the end of life, to promote advance care planning and decisionmaking so that individuals' wishes are known should they become unable to speak for themselves, to engage health care providers in disseminating information about and assisting in the preparation of advance directives, which include living wills and durable powers of attorney for health care, and for other purposes.

Session-110; Bill Number-S 466; Medicare End-of-Life Care Planning Act of 2007 - Cosponsor

Amends title XVIII (Medicare) of the Social Security Act to provide for Medicare coverage of an end-of-life planning consultation, including discussion of advance directives, as part of an initial preventive physical examination.

References

[1] Website: ABC News Article: Sen. Bill Nelson: ‘Possibility but not Probability’ Health Care Law is Unconstitutional Author: Amy Bingham Accessed on: 10/11/2011

User Comments