The Affordable Care Act is poised to lose one of its greatest House of Representatives allies with the retirement of Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), announced this week.
Waxman has been very influential in healthcare discussions on Capitol Hill, helping to craft the ACA as well as playing major roles in the Safe Medical Device Act, which mandated adverse event reporting and tracking for medical implants; setting standards for including women in clinical trials and creating the Office of Research on Women’s Health at NIH, helping craft FDA user fee laws; and more.
His "record of accomplishment" spans 27 pages, with an additional 13 pages of footnotes.
The 40-year veteran of Capitol Hill was also actively involved in discussions surrounding mHealth and the regulation of healthcare-related apps. He helped to dispel rumors last year that the medical device tax would apply to smartphones and tablets because they may become a type of medical device once they carry health apps.
"The Affordable Care Act is going to serve a very important purpose. It is not going to require mobile apps to be regulated or to be taxed," Waxman said at the time.
Waxman issued a statement this week revealing that he would not seek reelection at the end of this year’s term. He joins a slew of other House members who have chosen to resign, some citing grievances with the inability to make progress amid a charged partisan environment.
"It’s been frustrating because of the extremism of Tea Party Republicans," Waxman told the New York Times earlier this week. "Nothing seems to be happening."
He’d voiced concerns before about the stalemate in D.C., writing in his 2009 book about the gridlock on Capitol Hill, but remained hopeful that government could improve lives.
"In 40 years as a legislator, I’ve seen just about everything," he wrote. "I’ve worked with people who do a terrible job, watched plenty of good legislation die, and experienced the grinding frustration of being stuck in the minority party for more than a decade. If anybody should be cynical about our government and how it works, I should. But I’m not. Because despite the setbacks and frustrations, what Congress has achieved during my time has made clear to me that if you organize the right people, follow the facts, and force the issue, it is possible, and even likely, that good work can make a difference in the lives of millions of Americans – which, in the end, is a lawmaker’s highest purpose.”