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Al Franken on Health Care

DFL Jr Senator (MN)


We need to go to universal health care

A single-payer system would be the most effective in terms of reducing administrative costs, and I would be thrilled to support such a system. But I believe that today’s political environment requires a creative and flexible approach to covering every American. I would require every state to cover every one of its citizens, and the federal government to provide funding to fulfill that requirement. Each individual state would be free to offer a variety of options, as long as they add up to universal coverage, giving us 51 laboratories (if you count DC) to figure out which system works best. I would add one constraint: each state must cover every child 18 and under with a single-payer system similar to Medicare. I would fight to make Medicare a true single-payer system. Right now, we overpay insurance companies, who then turn around and cherry-pick only the healthiest seniors to cover. That’s not fair and we should change it.
Source: 2008 Senate campaign website, www.AlFranken.com, “Issues” , May 14, 2008

Address the quality and cost of care

Medicare should be allowed to negotiate with the pharmaceutical companies for lower prices on prescription drugs. Simple, secure, electronic medical records would cut down on errors and streamline care. We should establish safe staffing levels for nurses --when the people on the front lines of health care tell us that they need reinforcements to maintain their high standards of care, we should listen. We should pass Wellstone’s bill ensuring full mental health parity.
Source: 2008 Senate campaign website, www.AlFranken.com, “Issues” , May 14, 2008

Kids without health insurance grew to 8.3 million in 2005

During the Bush administration, the number of Americans living without health insurance has grown from 39.8 million in 2000 to 46.6 million as of the most recent Census Bureau data. That includes 21.5 million people who work full time. Especially disturbing is that the number of children without health insurance actually grew to 8.3 million in 2005. Children who lack health insurance are more likely to miss school and 70% less likely to get treated for an ear infection.
Source: 2008 Senate campaign website, www.AlFranken.com, “Issues” , May 14, 2008

Full funding for state-based coverage, but not single payer

A single-payer system would be the most effective in terms of reducing administrative costs. But I believe that today’s political environment requires a flexible approach to covering every American. Here’s mine: