No American should be one illness away from bankruptcy. Our country has spent decades debating fixes for our health care system without a solution. Although America leads the world in health innovation, we are ranked 39th in healthcare delivery, and the statistics that matter – like infant mortality – demonstrate that we are failing at this critical work. Regardless of which side of the aisle you stand on, we can all agree that the system isn’t working well for most of us right now.
Access to reliable, high-quality healthcare is about more than one or two visits to the doctor; it’s about ensuring that all Americans can receive the medical care and support that they need, whether they’re expecting a new baby, recovering from an injury, or facing a life-threatening health crisis, without emptying their bank account. Medical costs are the leading cause of bankruptcy in the United States. We can and must do better.
If successful, efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act would be devastating: one bill proposed, the American Health Care Act, would lead to 24 million Americans losing health insurance in the coming decade and to millions more people, many with pre-existing conditions, becoming just one incident away from financial ruin or death. That bill would cut $880 billion from Medicaid and strip $117 billion from Medicare for seniors. Nearly 80 percent of school districts rely on Medicaid funds for school nurses, health screenings, wheelchairs and special education programs. Other proposals include expanding health insurance plans that fail to insure basic healthcare needs, such as coverage for having a baby or getting sick or allowing plans to exclude coverage for pre-existing conditions. This is not health care coverage, this is coverage in name only. Un- or under-insuring Americans is not the solution. Wonder if that contributes to our terrible infant mortality rate? I do.
In 2017 alone, the number of uninsured Americans grew by over 3.2 million people – and the largest declines in coverage were among our youth, people of color, and low-income and working families. We need a safety net in place to care for every American, and Medicare provides an excellent starting place. Americans over age 65 rely on Medicare to guarantee their essential health care coverage. Administrative costs for Medicare are remarkably low – approximately two percent – far less than the 15 to 20 percent overhead of private insurance plans. I support expanding this program to cover all Americans.
With a Medicare-for-all plan, we can relieve the fear facing too many families that a medical problem will doom them to poverty. By covering preventive care, we can save our country the enormous amount spent in expensive emergency rooms by patients who have no access to primary care providers, while saving money for the individuals and families who face co-pays, deductibles, and other medical bills. The majority of Americans favor federally-sponsored health care. It’s time that we listen to the people and work to develop and implement a Medicare-for-all plan.
- I would oppose any legislation to eliminate or repeal the Affordable Care Act.
- We must protect the safety nets that help working families – our children, the elderly, veterans, and those struggling with mental illness. The Children’s Health Insurance Program provides coverage to 115,000 children in Indiana alone. We must protect those citizens that need it most.
- I support exploring early access to Medicare to enroll seniors ages 55 to 64, who have paid into the system their entire lives and need these benefits in their time of declining health.
- I support moving toward Medicare for every American.