Elizabeth Warren on Health Care
Massachusetts Senator; former head of CFPB; Dem. Presidential Challenger
WARREN: This really is serious. We know that, with any virus that develops, the most vulnerable will be our children, seniors, people with compromised immune systems. First we think about allocation--our overall approach. I'm going to be introducing a plan tomorrow to take every dime that the president is now spending on his racist wall at our southern border and divert it to work on the Coronavirus.
Q: V.P. Pence is in charge of the U.S. response?
WARREN: We need someone in the White House who is coordinating all of the work and all of the messaging and all of the information. Do keep in mind that this vice president has dealt with a public health emergency before, in Indiana [with HIV]. And what was his approach? It was to put politics over science and let a serious virus expand in his state and cost people lives. He is not the person who should be in charge.
WARREN: There are a whole lot of drugs, about 90% of drugs, that are not under patent. They're generic drugs. The drug industry has figured out how to manipulate this industry to keep jerking the prices up and up and up. So my view is, let's give them a little competition. The government lets contracts for all kind of things. Let's let the contracts out. Put the contracts out so that we can put more generic drugs out there and drive down those prices. This is a way to make markets work, not to try to move away from the market. You don't have to even use price controls. The whole idea behind it is get some competition out there so the price of these drugs that are no longer under patent drops where it should be.
Mayor Pete BUTTIGIEG: It's not true that the plan I'm proposing is small. We've got to move past a mentality that suggests that the bigness of plans only consists of how many trillions of dollars they put through the Treasury. This would be the biggest thing we've done to American health care in a half-century. On prescription drugs, we'll have an out-of-pocket cap, even if you don't get the subsidies that would make it free, a $250 monthly cap.
WARREN: Costs will go up for the wealthy & for big corporations. For hardworking, middle class families, costs will go down. It is about what kinds of costs middle class families are going to face. So let me be clear on this. Costs will go up for the wealthy, they will go up for big corporations and for middle class families, they will go down. I will not sign a bill into law that does not lower costs for middle class families/
WARREN: Yes. I want to see us bring down the cost of drugs that are generic. This drug will be off-patent by then. And I commit that in my administration we will let out a government contract to produce that drug and make that drug available at cost both here in the United States and all around the world.
V.P. Joe BIDEN: I think we should have a debate on health care. I think Obamacare worked. I think the way we add to it, replace everything that has been cut, add a public option, guarantee that everyone will be able to have affordable insurance, number one. Number two, I think we should look at cost. My plan costs $740 billion. It doesn't cost $3.4 trillion a year. How are we going to pay for it? Thus far, Senator Warren has not indicated how she pays for it.
WARREN: We owe a huge debt to President Obama, who transformed health care. Now, how best can we improve it? I believe the best way we can do that is we make sure everybody gets covered by health care at the lowest possible cost. How do we pay for it? Those at the very top, the richest individuals and the biggest corporations, are going to pay more. And middle class families are going to pay less.
DELANEY: Folks, we have a choice. We can go down the road that Senator Sanders and Senator Warren want to take us, which is with bad policies like Medicare-for-all. But we don't have to go around and be the party of subtraction, and telling half the country, who has private health insurance, that their health insurance is illegal.
WARREN: Let's be clear about this. We are the Democrats. We are not about trying to take away health care from anyone. That's what the Republicans are trying to do. And we should stop using Republican talking points in order to talk with each other about how to best provide that health care. The basic profit model of an insurance company is taking as much money as you can in premiums and pay out as little as possible. That is not working for Americans. Medicare-for-All will fix that, and that's why I'll fight for it.
WARREN: We have to think in terms of the big frame. Washington works great for the wealthy, who can hire armies of lobbyists. And it keeps working great for the insurance companies. What it's going to take is real courage to fight back against them. These insurance companies do not have a God-given right to make $23 billion in profits and suck it out of our health care system.
Rep. John DELANEY: We need to have solutions that are workable. Can you imagine if we tried to start Social Security now but said "private pensions are illegal?" That's the equivalent of what Senator Warren is proposing with health care.
WARREN: He talks about solutions that are workable. We have tried the solution of private insurance companies. They've sucked billions of dollars out of our health care system. They've made everybody fill out dozens of forms. Why? Not because they're trying to track your health care. They just want one more excuse to say no.
WARREN: Giant corporations and billionaires are going to pay more. Middle-class families are going to pay less out of pocket for their health care. The basic profit model of an insurance company is taking as much money as you can in premiums and pay out as little as possible in health care coverage. That is not working for Americans across this country
Q: Would you raise taxes on the middle class to pay for Medicare for All, offset, obviously, by the elimination of insurance premiums, yes or no?
WARREN: Costs will go up for billionaires and go up for corporations. For middle-class families, costs -- total costs -- will go down.
Gov. John HICKENLOOPER: It comes down to that question of Americans being used to being able to make choices. Proposing a public option that allows some form of Medicare that maybe is a combination of Medicare Advantage and Medicare, but if enough people choose it, it expands, the quality improves, the cost comes down, eventually, in 15 years, you could get there, but it would be an evolution, not a revolution.
WARREN: We have tried this experiment with the insurance companies. What they've done is sucked billions of dollars out of our health care system. They force people to fight to get the health care coverage that their doctors and nurses say that they need. Why does every doctor, every hospital have to fill out so many complicated forms? It's because it gives insurance companies a chance to say no and to push that cost back on the patients.
WARREN: He talks about solutions that are workable. We have tried the solution of Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance. And what have the private insurance companies done? They've sucked billions of dollars out of our health care system. They've made everybody fill out dozens and dozens of forms. Why? Not because they're trying to track your health care. They just want one more excuse to say no. Insurance companies do not have a God-given right to suck money out of our health care system.
The Center for Responsible Lending reports that over the past decade, the trends we noted in "The Two- Income Trap" continued to worsen, as costs for many basic expenses continued to climb relative to incomes for middle-class families. "The declining real incomes of the last decade would not have been so hard on families if the cost of maintaining a household had also remained unchanged. Instead, families were faced with increases in basic non-discretionary expenses like housing, transportation, medical care, & utilities, with no growth--or sometimes even decreases--in income to pay for these items.
As of today, August 1st, whenever insurance plans come up for their annual renewal, the companies will be required to cover key preventive services for women free of charge. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, approximately 47 million women nationwide, including over 1.2 million Massachusetts women, are in health plans that must cover these new preventive services without charging a co-pay, co-insurance, or deductible.
The current legislation includes $500 million for the FDA, well below the amount Democrats had sought. Warren and Washington Senator Patty Murray have long argued that they would only support Cures legislation that included significant investment in basic medical research. While Warren said she supported many of the provisions, she called others "huge giveaways" to the drug industry.
Warren cited several measures she viewed as especially outrageous. One would roll back requirements for doctors to report some "Sunshine Act" payments from drug companies. The provision would exempt companies from disclosing fees given doctors for receiving continuing medical education sessions, medical journals, or textbooks.
Christian Coalition publishes a number of special voter educational materials including the Christian Coalition Voter Guides, which provide voters with critical information about where candidates stand on important faith and family issues. The Christian Coalition Voters Guide summarizes candidate stances on the following topic: "Repealing "Obamacare" that forces citizens to buy insurance or pay a tax"
Excerpts from Letter from 20 Senators to President Trump: Repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) with no clear plan for replacement will substantially worsen the opioid epidemic. Last year, Congress took important steps to address this national public health crisis, enacting two bipartisan laws to address the opioid epidemic and reform the way our health system treats mental health and substance use disorders.
The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act improved access to substance use disorder prevention, treatment, and recovery services. It promoted the use of best practices when prescribing opioid pain-killers, strengthening state prescription drug monitoring programs, and expanding access to the life-saving drug naloxone.
The 21st Century Cures Act also included critical mental health and substance use disorder reforms, strengthening enforcement of mental health parity laws, promoting the integration of physical and mental health care. Most importantly, the 21st Century Cures Act dedicated $1 billion in new grant funding, which will be essential to helping states provide prevention, treatment, and recovery services to patients These bipartisan advances will be fundamentally undermined by repeal of the ACA.
Opposing argument: (Warren, D-MA, in StatNews.com, 11/28/2016): Senator Elizabeth Warren railed against the 21st Century Cures, saying the bill had been "hijacked" by the pharmaceutical industry. "I cannot vote for this bill,'' Warren said. "I will fight it because I know the difference between compromise and extortion." The current legislation includes $500 million for the FDA, well below the amount Democrats had sought. Warren and Washington Senator Patty Murray have long argued that they would only support Cures legislation that included significant investment in basic medical research. While Warren said she supported many of the provisions, she called others "huge giveaways" to the drug industry.
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Joe Kennedy III
Senate races 2019-20:
AK: Sullivan(R,incumbent) vs.Gross(I)
AL: Jones(D,incumbent) vs.Sessions(R) vs.Moore(R) vs.Mooney(R) vs.
AR: Cotton(R,incumbent) vs.
AZ: McSally(R,incumbent) vs.Kelly(D)
CO: Gardner(R,incumbent) vs.Hickenlooper(D) vs.
DE: Coons(D,incumbent) vs.Scarane(D)
GA-2: Isakson(R,resigned) Loeffler(R,appointed) vs.Lieberman(D) vs.Collins(R) vs.Carter(D)
GA-6: Perdue(R,incumbent) vs.Tomlinson(D) vs.Ossoff(D) vs.Terry(D)
IA: Ernst(R,incumbent) vs.Graham(D) vs.Mauro(D) vs.Greenfield(D)
ID: Risch(R,incumbent) vs.Harris(D) vs.Jordan(D)
IL: Durbin(D,incumbent) vs.Curran(R) vs.
KS: Roberts(R,retiring) vs.
KY: McConnell(R,incumbent) vs.McGrath(D) vs.Morgan(R) vs.Cox(D) vs.Tobin(D)
LA: Cassidy(R,incumbent) vs.Pierce(D)
MA: Markey(D,incumbent) vs.
ME: Collins(R,incumbent) vs.Sweet(D) vs.Gideon(D) vs.
MI: Peters(D,incumbent) vs.James(R)
MN: Smith(D,incumbent) vs.
MS: Hyde-Smith(R,incumbent) vs.Espy(D) vs.Bohren(D)
MT: Daines(R,incumbent) vs.Collins(D) vs.Bullock(D)
NC: Tillis(R,incumbent) vs.E.Smith(D) vs.S.Smith(R) vs.Cunningham(D) vs.Tucker(R) vs.
NE: Sasse(R,incumbent) vs.Janicek(R)
NH: Shaheen(D,incumbent) vs.Martin(D) vs.Bolduc(R) vs.O'Brien(f)
NJ: Booker(D,incumbent) vs.Singh(R) vs.Meissner(R)
NM: Udall(D,retiring) vs.Clarkson(R) vs.
OK: Inhofe(R,incumbent) vs.Workman(D)
OR: Merkley(D,incumbent) vs.Romero(R)
RI: Reed(D,incumbent) vs.Waters(R)
SC: Graham(R,incumbent) vs.Tinubu(D) vs.Harrison(D)
SD: Rounds(R,incumbent) vs.Borglum(R) vs.Ahlers(D)
TN: Alexander(R,incumbent) vs.Sethi(R) vs.Mackler(D) vs.Hagerty(R)
TX: Cornyn(R,incumbent) vs.Hegar(D) vs.Hernandez(D) vs.Bell(D) vs.Ramirez(D) vs.West(D)
VA: Warner(D,incumbent) vs.
WV: Capito(R,incumbent) vs.Swearengin(D) vs.Ojeda(D)
WY: Enzi(R,incumbent) vs.Ludwig(D) vs.Lummis(R)
Senate Votes (analysis)