Mobile Menu - OpenMobile Menu - Closed
Democracy Awards

Congressman Mark DeSaulnier

Representing the 11th District of California

Health Care

All Americans should have access to quality, affordable health insurance, and Congressman DeSaulnier is a strong supporter of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which achieves these goals. Since being enacted, this landmark legislation has helped 20 million previously uninsured Americans gain health care coverage. No longer can insurance providers deny coverage to individuals with pre-existing conditions or suddenly drop coverage when people get sick, and young adults can stay on their parents plan until age 26 (for more information, click here). Health care coverage is no longer a privilege, but is a right for all Americans. Now we must work in a bipartisan manner to improve this law and promote a healthier America.

Drawing on his perspective as a cancer survivor and continuing on his past work while serving in the California State, Congressman DeSaulnier is committed to stemming the tide of opioid addiction in America. He also wants to address prescription drug affordability, as prescription drug prices are now the fastest growing segment of our health care system’s costs. A longtime Bay Area resident, Mark encourages innovation in the health care sector and investment in new treatments and cures for patients.

Working for You


In the summer of 2015, Congressman DeSaulnier was diagnosed with the most common leukemia in the world, a cancer named Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). The Congressman had a positive response to his aggressive chemotheraphy treatment, and neither CLL or the treatement impacted his professional work. As a result of incredible breakthroughs, medical advancements and cutting edge therapies, there are approximately 1.2 million Americans, like Mark, living long, full lives with blood cancer.

By publicly sharing his story, Congressman DeSaulnier hopes to add his voice to the growing number of people fighting cancer and the other chronic conditions so many families confront. As part of his message and in an effort to raise awareness, I joined with John Muir Medical Center to host a regional Bay Area Cancer Moonshot Summit to focus on accelerating progress in cancer prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.

Affordable Care Act

The ACA has made positive changes in our health care system, such as expanding coverage to 20 million more Americans, stopping insurance companies from discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions from purchasing health insurance, and increasing access to preventative care. However, more needs to be done to make sure the law achieves its goals and is workable for those trying to access care. Mark has consistently voted against bills that would take away health care from millions of Americans by repealing the Affordable Care Act. Additionally, he has sponsored legislation to make some fixes to the ACA that will help it work better for Americans, like the Middle Class Health Benefits Tax (“Cadillac Tax”) Repeal Act (H.R.2050). This bill would repeal a tax on higher-cost employer-sponsored health plans that harms working people in high-cost areas like California. Congressman DeSaulnier also cosponsored the Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening Act (H.R.1220), which would fix a glitch in the ACA in order to make sure that preventative screenings are free for patients as intended under the law.

Prescription Drug Affordability

American families should not be forced to forgo potentially life-saving drugs simply because of rising prescription drug prices. In 2014, nearly 20 percent of adults said they had not filled a prescription because of cost. To address this issue, Congressman DeSaulnier cosponsored the Prescription Drug Affordability Act (H.R.3513), which takes a multi-pronged approach to lowering drug prices.

Encouraging Innovation and the Development of New Treatments

Mark supports the 21st Century Cures Act (H.R.6) to accelerate the discovery, development, and delivery of life saving cures and treatments. This bill would ensure that the United States continues to be a leader in health care innovation and biomedical research through a combination of different approaches.

Congressman DeSaulnier is an advocate for robustly funding the National Institutes of Health (NIH), one of the world’s foremost medical and research centers, and a leader in developing treatments and cures for diseases. He is a sponsor of the Accelerating Biomedical Research Act (H.R. 531), which would lift spending caps and allow for additional federal investment in biomedical research.

Preventing and Treating Opioid Addiction and Prescription Drug Abuse

No family should ever lose a loved one to prescription drug abuse. Yet, 44 Americans die from a prescription painkiller overdose every day. Mark is committed to stopping the epidemic of prescription opioid abuse and its devastating effect on public health and safety in communities across the United States.

Congressman DeSaulnier, who authored legislation to update prescription drug monitoring programs while serving in the California State Senate, is building upon his past work to prevent prescription drug overdose deaths. In Congress, he is proud to sponsor the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (H.R.953), which provides a broad approach that includes improved education, treatment, disposal of unwanted medications, and enhancing prescription drug monitoring systems to prevent drug diversion and connect at-risk individuals with treatment services.

Mark is an advocate for the Recovery Enhancement for Addiction Treatment Act (H.R.2536) to better allow practitioners to connect at-risk patients with detoxification treatments. Mark was proud to sponsor the Protecting Our Infants Act (H.R.1462), which passed through Congress and was signed into law by President Obama in November of 2015. The Protecting Our Infants Act requires the Department of Health and Human Services to develop best practices for Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, which affects infants exposed to opioids while in utero, and to require the agency to collect data on the illness.