WASHINGTON – Congressman Vern Buchanan today was officially named the chairman of the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee, making him the first Floridian ever to chair the prestigious panel. Buchanan was also tapped to serve as the vice chair of the full committee earlier in the day by Chairman Jason Smith.
"Health care represents one-fifth of our economy and is critical to every family and business across the country,” Buchanan said. "We need to make care more affordable and accessible for every single American, without imposing burdensome big government regulations."
The Congressman said his agenda will focus on returning American health care to a patient-oriented system that encourages innovation and increases personalized care options. Working to save and strengthen Medicare and expand telehealth services to improve access and affordability are other top priorities. Buchanan will also promote preventive care by incentivizing routine health screenings and check-ups to help avoid major health problems and costly medical bills.
As the chairman of the Health Subcommittee, Buchanan said he looks forward to playing a leading role in shaping health care policy. The Health Subcommittee has broad jurisdiction over traditional Medicare, the Medicare prescription drug benefit program and Medicare Advantage. The subcommittee also oversees issues relating to medical education, private health insurance programs and subsidies delivered through the tax code, consumer-directed health savings tools and issues related to the quality of and access to care.
Nationwide, health care costs totaled $4.1 trillion in 2020 – up more than 60 percent in just 10 years. By 2027, costs are expected to rise to nearly $6.4 trillion. Health care is enormously important to Buchanan’s home state of Florida and its 4.7 million Medicare recipients.
Buchanan was also tapped to serve as vice chairman of the full Ways and Means Committee.
In announcing the appointment, Chairman Smith said, “Vern brings an invaluable level of knowledge and expertise to the Vice Chairmanship of the Ways and Means Committee. His experience serving as the lead Republican on nearly all of our subcommittees, as well as his background as a business owner and entrepreneur will help ensure the Committee speaks to the needs of America’s small businesses and job creators. I look forward to working closely with Vern as we deliver for the American people, strengthen our economy, grow jobs and wages, and create greater financial, energy, food, and health care security for working families.”
Buchanan will also serve on the Trade Subcommittee this Congress. Buchanan previously served as the top Republican on the Trade Subcommittee from Jan. 2019 to Jan. 2022, where he oversaw the successful passage and implementation of the landmark United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which modernized and rebalanced the United States’ critical trading relationship with our North American neighbors. USMCA set the gold standard for future U.S. trade agreements, providing significant economic boosts to customs and trade facilitation services, agriculture and digital trade.
Buchanan noted that international trade is critical to his home state of Florida, where exports and imports support 2.5 million jobs. Through its 15 deepwater seaports, Florida exports tens of billions of dollars in goods and services annually, which range from aerospace materials, to citrus products, to travel services. Port Manatee, located in Florida’s 16th Congressional District which Buchanan represents, generates more than $5.1 billion in annual impact for the region and supports more than 37,000 jobs.
Buchanan is the most senior Republican on the Ways and Means Committee and has led Republicans on five of the six subcommittees.