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Wyden Firsts: Better, More Affordable Health Care

After years of advocating for senior citizens with the Oregon Gray Panthers, Ron was the first Senator to recognize the transformation of Medicare—with more than 60 million beneficiaries—from an acute illness program to one dominated by chronic illness. Ron proposed updating “the Medicare Guarantee” to effectively cover chronic illnesses such as diabetes and cancer and improving the system for both seniors and taxpayers.

His work led to the passage of the bipartisan CHRONIC Care Act, increasing care for patients at home, expanding the use of new technologies to serve stroke patients and others for whom immediate care is crucial, and assisting with medical needs outside of traditional health care such as paying for bathtub railings to prevent falls.

Ron followed up during the COVID-19 pandemic, leading the effort to “shoehorn” into pandemic relief Medicare coverage for telemedicine to give homebound seniors greater access to their health care providers.

Ron was the first to actually ask tobacco industry executives if nicotine was addictive, under oath, before the United States Congress. He exposed the tobacco lobby’s lies and their lawyer Ken Starr sued Ron for taking on the industry. Ron’s work was key to a $246 billion settlement paid to state governments by tobacco companies to compensate taxpayers caring for those with health problems caused by cigarettes and has accelerated the long term decline in smoking.

Ron was the first to secure the passage of legislation to give Medicare the power to negotiate with drug companies to lower the cost of prescription drugs for seniors. His legislation will also cap monthly out-of-pocket drug costs, and hold Big Pharma accountable for price-gouging seniors at the pharmacy counter.

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Meet Ron Wyden

Ron Wyden is a champion for our progressive values -- standing up for consumers and the middle class, fighting for digital privacy and an open internet, protecting our planet and Oregon's special places, and always insisting on human rights and equality for all.

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