Gateway to Innovation

HLC recognizes the importance of collaborating with our nation’s congressional leaders to build a better healthcare system.  HLC works with hundreds of members of Congress each year to improve American healthcare without undermining its signature strengths – constant innovation and the development of new cures, treatments and technologies that have increased longevity, conquered disease, and made long-term hospitalizations and disabilities increasingly less common.

Beginning in 2008, HLC’s Gateway to Innovation award is presented to members of Congress who have demonstrated leadership and commitment to improving the quality and affordability of America’s healthcare system in new and innovative ways.


The Honorable Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX)

In 1993, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison was the first and, to date, the only woman elected to represent the state in the Senate. In 2000, she received more votes for her re-election to a second full term than any other statewide candidate had ever received. And in 2006, she was again re-elected by an overwhelming margin.

Senator Hutchison is the Senior Republican on the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. Additionally, she serves on the Appropriations Committee, the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, and the Committee on Rules and Administration. In the 110th Congress, Sen. Hutchison served as the Chairman of the Republican Policy Committee.

Early in 2009, Congress passed reauthorization of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program and Senator Hutchison helped ensure that it happened.  As Congress continues to work on health reform we our fortunate to have someone like Senator Hutchison to help guide this very important endeavor. HLC was pleased to recognize Hutchison, as one of the great champions on Capitol Hill when it comes to ensuring quality healthcare for military families, with the Gateway to Innovation award.

The Honorable Allyson Schwartz (D-PA)

Representative Allyson Schwartz has represented Pennsylvania’s 13th congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives since 2005.  In only her second term in Congress, Representative Schwartz was named to the Committee on Ways and Means.

Building on her service prior Congress, Representative Schwartz’s passion for improving America’s healthcare system has continued in the U.S. House of Representatives. The Healthcare Leadership Council was pleased to recognize this commitment by presenting its inaugural Gateway to Innovation award to Representative Schwartz in acknowledgement of her leadership as a co-chair of the New Democrat Coalition’s Healthcare Task Force.

Representative Schwartz worked tirelessly in 2008 on behalf of legislation that would create a workable, interoperable health information technology system that would improve healthcare quality and effectiveness as well as enhance patient safety.  Also noteworthy and building on her leadership record in advancing health coverage for children, during the 2007 State Children’s Health Insurance (SCHIP) reauthorization effort, Representative Schwartz supported creative measures to help more working Americans gain access to private health coverage.

The Honorable Mary Bono Mack (R-CA)

In 1988, Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack was first elected to serve the people of California’s 45th District through a special election held to fill the seat left vacant by her late husband. Since then, Bono Mack has established herself as a leader on such issues as clean, alternative energy, protecting the environment, improving healthcare, and protecting consumers. She serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

At a young age, Mary became an accomplished gymnast, and her dedication to physical fitness continues to this day.   She has sponsored legislation to address the issue of obesity in this country.  Working in a bipartisan fashion, she has also sponsored legislation to improve nutrition programs nationwide, autism research, and federal funding under the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Act.

Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack’s vote to expand children’s health coverage, which President Obama signed into law in February 2009, serves as the latest example of her willingness to work in a bipartisan fashion to solve the nation’s healthcare issues. HLC knows that children and healthcare reform are priority issues for Congresswoman Bono Mack, and believe her commitment, leadership, and vision embody the qualities the Gateway to Innovation Award represents.

The Honorable Shelly Berkley (D-NV)

Congresswoman Shelley Berkley has represented the families of Nevada’s First Congressional District since 1999 as a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Congresswoman Berkley serves on the Ways and Means committee as well as the Health Subcommittee. Berkley demonstrated her continued commitment to health reform through her support of several health measures including funding for health information technology and a wellness fund in the recently passed stimulus package.  Also, Berkley’s recent vote in favor of the Children’s Health Insurance Program illustrates her dedication to ensuring that all children have access to the healthcare they need. HLC felt that it was important to recognize Berkley’s efforts achieving these important milestones on the road to healthcare reform with the Gateway to Innovation award.

The Honorable Diana DeGette (D-CO)

Chief Deputy Whip Diana DeGette has in the U.S. House of Representatives representing the 1st district of Colorado since 1997. As Vice Chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee, she is one of the leading voices in the healthcare debate, and as lead whip, she played a vital role in the reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

DeGette is committed to expanding access to healthcare and improving public health. She is co-chair of the bipartisan Congressional Diabetes Caucus and a long-time advocate for the expansion of diabetes care and research, particularly for lower-income and minority communities.  DeGette also emerged as one of Congress’s most knowledgeable members regarding cutting-edge scientific research.  Additionally, Representative DeGette is a long-time proponent of wellness and chronic care management, emphasizing improvements in patients’ quality of life as well as the potential for controlling costs that can be achieved by preventing and managing chronic diseases.  HLC was pleased to recognize DeGette’s dedication to improving health, in addition to her leadership role in the health reform debate, with the Gateway to Innovation award.

The Honorable Henry Waxman (D-CA)

Representative Henry A. Waxman has served in the U.S. House of Representatives, representing California’s 30th Congressional District since 1975.  In January 2009, Representative Waxman became the Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. From 1979 to 1994, he chaired the Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Health and the Environment, and served as the Subcommittee’s Ranking Member in 1995 and 1996.

Throughout the 1980s, Representative Waxman championed national healthcare reform and improvements in the Medicare and Medicaid programs. He successfully led the fight for improved prenatal and infant care for low-income families, for protection against impoverishment for the spouses of persons in nursing homes, and for more services in the community for people needing long-term care. He has also been an advocate for prescription drug coverage in Medicare for people with high drug expenses.

Representative Waxman’s decades-long commitment to improving the health of Americans, as well as expanding access to the healthcare system, exemplifies the leadership and commitment that the Gateway to Innovation award represents.

For more information regarding the Gateway to Innovation Award program, please contact Debbie Witchey or Amanda Uherek