Amy Klobuchar on Health Care

DFL Sr Senator (MN); Democratic presidential contender


Billions for CDC for coronavirus; billions for NIH too

Q: Earlier tonight President Trump addressed the administration's response to the Coronavirus.

KLOBUCHAR: Today, when the president addressed this, he [mentioned] the CDC; I think that's important, because I believe in science. But I also think, as we look at diseases and how they spread, we have to think ahead. And a lot of this, when you look at the budgets and how he has handled this, he's tried to cut the CDC in the past. He has tried to cut the organization that works with the rest of the world when it comes to pandemics. Democrats in the Senate have asked for something like $7 billion, $8 billion. And I think we have to be ready. And the number one thing is to listen to the doctors and call the doctors, but the other thing is to plan ahead. And how I would do this as your president is, one, make sure we have adequate medical help and research, that we have invested in education.

Source: CNN S. C. Town Hall for 2020 Presidential primary , Feb 26, 2020

Provide mental health care with two-cent opioid tax

Q: One in five Americans have some sort of mental illness. Many do not seek help due to stigma, cost, and lack of available services. What is your plan to address mental health?

KLOBUCHAR: Number one, when you have insurance, we want to make sure that mental health parity rules are in place. Secondly, I would make sure that we're investing in mental health. We have seen a 30% increase in suicides in this country in the last 15 years. Very, very sad. What does this mean? It means counselors in school. It means having more mental health beds. And the way I would pay for all this, you know this big opioid settlement is coming in, I would put a two cents per milligram tax on opioids and use that money to pay for mental health, as well as some other very set ways to pay for this. We can get this done with bipartisan support, but you need to have a president that isn't afraid to talk about it. And I'm talking about this all over the country, and I can't wait to get it done.

Source: CNN S. C. Town Hall for 2020 Presidential primary , Feb 26, 2020

Medicare-for-All costs $60T & kicks off 149M from insurance

Q: [to Senator Sanders]: You've proposed more than $50 trillion in new spending. You've said Medicare for all will cost $30 trillion.

Bernie SANDERS: Over a 10-year period.

Q: But you can only explain how you'll pay for just about half of that. Can you do the math for the rest of us?

SANDERS: A new study that just came out of Yale University, published in Lancet magazine, said Medicare-for-All will lower health care costs in this country by $450 billion a year and save 68,000 lives of people who otherwise would have died.

Q: Senator Klobuchar, does the math add up?

Amy KLOBUCHAR: No, the math does not add up. [Sanders' figures miss] nearly $60 trillion. That is three times the American economy--not the federal government--the entire American economy. The Medicare-for-All plan alone on page eight clearly says that it will kick 149 million Americans off their current health insurance in four years. That is true.

Source: 10th Democratic Primary debate on eve of S.C. primary , Feb 25, 2020

Don't blow up ObamaCare with Medicare-for-All

My plan is a public option. It would reduce premiums for 12 million people immediately. It would expand coverage for about that same number. It is what Barack Obama wanted to do. When you see some troubled waters, you don't blow up a bridge, you build one. And so we need to improve the Affordable Care Act, not blow it up.
Source: 9th Democrat 2020 primary debate, in Las Vegas Nevada , Feb 19, 2020

Medicare-for-All will kick 149 million off their insurance

[Joe Biden asked Sen. Bernie Sanders about Medicare-for-All] "How much is it going to cost? Who's going to pay for it? The idea [that] middle class taxes aren't going to go up is just crazy."

Sanders responded that the "status quo" offered by Biden will cost even more. "We are spending twice as much per capita as the people of any other country," Sanders told Biden, who was vice president during the passage of the Affordable Care Act championed by President Barack Obama. "Maybe it has something to do with the fact that the health care industry last year made $100 billion in profit."

Klobuchar then broke in. "I keep listening to this same debate, and it is not real. It is not real, Bernie, because two thirds of the Democrats in the Senate are not on your bill, and because it would kick 149 million Americans off their current health insurance in four years," she said, garnering a loud reaction from the crowd.

Source: CNBC.com excerpts of 8th Democrat 2020 primary debate , Feb 8, 2020

Medicare-for-All will kick 149 million off their insurance

I keep listening to this same debate, and it is not real. It is not real because two thirds of the Democrats in the Senate are not on your bill and because it would kick 149 million Americans off their current health insurance in four years. I have long believed that the way that we expand healthcare to more people and bring down premiums is by building on the Affordable Care Act, with a nonprofit public option.
Source: 8th Democrat 2020 primary debate, St. Anselm College in NH , Feb 7, 2020

Non-profit public option: I have a plan for that

Sen. Bernie SANDERS [to KLOBUCHAR]: We have talked about health care for all, in this country, for over 100 years. Now is the time to take on the greed and corruption of the health care industry, of the drug companies, and finally provide health care to all through a Medicare For All single- payer program.

KLOBUCHAR: Senator Sanders and I have worked together on pharmaceuticals for a long, long time. And we agree on this. But what I don't agree with is his position on health care. This debate isn't real. Over 2/3 of the Democrats in the U.S. Senate are not on the bill that you and Senator Warren are on. You have numerous governors that are Democratic that don't support this. The answer is a nonprofit public option. The real debate we should be having is how do we make it easier for people to get coverage for addiction and mental health. I have a plan for that. And then, what should we do about long-term care? We need to make it easier for people to get long-term care insurance.

Source: 7th Democrat primary debate, on eve of Iowa caucus , Jan 14, 2020

We need a paid-for healthcare plan, not a pipe dream

KLOBUCHAR: I think it is much better to build on the Affordable Care Act. If you want to be practical and progressive at the same time and have a plan and not a pipedream, you have to show how you're going to pay for it. I think you should show how you're going to pay for things, Bernie. I do.

Sen. Bernie SANDERS: Medicare for all ends all premiums, all copayments. It ends the absurdity of deductibles. It ends out-of-pocket expenses. It takes on the pharmaceutical industry, which in some cases charges 10 times more for the same prescription drugs sold abroad as sold here. A Medicare for all single-payer program will end the $100 billion a year that the health care industry makes and the $500 billion a year we spend dealing with thousands of separate insurance plans. Health care is a human right.

Source: 7th Democrat primary debate, on eve of Iowa caucus , Jan 14, 2020

Take on Big Pharma, to make drugs more affordable

Q: Young black gay men are the most impacted population affected by HIV and AIDS. What are remedies?

KLOBUCHAR: Make sure the HIV community can get the drugs they need. That means the PrEP drug and that means to take on pharmaceutical companies to make drugs more affordable. The second thing is to make sure we keep the protections of the Affordable Care Act. Make it easier for the generics to get online. Bring in less expensive drugs from other countries to start competition.

Source: CNN LGBT Town Hall 2020 , Oct 10, 2019

More mental health resources for LGBTQ

Q: How would you address mental health disparities experienced by the LGBTQ community?

KLOBUCHAR: Second cause of death of teenagers right now is suicide, with the numbers for LGBTQ being higher. Get rid of the stigma by treating mental illness like any other disease. Making sure insurance companies are offering the insurance and coverage. More beds. And prevention lines, hot lines, all of those kinds of things. More counselors in the schools to work with LGBTQ youth.

Source: CNN LGBT Town Hall 2020 , Oct 10, 2019

Do not eliminate employer insurance plans

While Bernie Sanders wrote the bill, I read the bill. And on page eight, it says that we will no longer have private insurance as we know it. And that means that 149 million Americans will no longer be able to have their current insurance. I don't think that's a bold idea, I think it's a bad idea. What I favor is a public option. A non-profit choice that would bring down the cost of insurance, cover 12 million more people, and bring down the prices for 13 million more people.
Source: September Democratic Primary debate in Houston , Sep 12, 2019

Provide immediate health care for undocumented immigrants

I think on the national basis, as we go forward, get immediate health care for people, yes. Yes for immediate health care needs, but as far as other benefits I think that has got to be a part of the discussion of comprehensive immigration reform.
Source: CBS Face the Nation 2019 interview , Jun 30, 2019

Allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices & re-import

2,500 drugs have gone up in double-digits since he came into office. Instead, [Trump]gave $100 billion in giveaways to the pharma companies. My proposal is to do something about pharma, to take them on, to allow negotiation under Medicare, to bring in less expensive drugs from other countries
Source: June Democratic Primary debate (first night in Miami) , Jun 26, 2019

Medicare/Medicaid can be step towards universal care

I think we share the goal of universal health care. This idea is that you use Medicare or Medicaid without any insurance companies involved, you can do it either way. And the estimates are 13 million people would see a reduction in their premiums, 12 more million people would get covered. I think it is a beginning and the way you start and the way you move to universal health care.
Source: June Democratic Primary debate (first night in Miami) , Jun 26, 2019

Backs Medicare Advantage, alternative to Medicare

She is one of two Democratic presidential candidates who signed a letter backing Medicare Advantage, the growing alternative to traditional Medicare. She urged the Federal Trade Commission to crack down on "pay-for-delay" pharmaceutical deals.
Source: Axios.com "What you need to know about 2020" , May 3, 2019

Ensure vets get equal support for mental health

Being sick physically should be treated the same as being sick mentally. That means having the type of psychiatrists and psychologists and counselors that we need. Insurance companies have got to handle mental health things just like they handle physical health things.

When it comes to the veterans, a lot of them go home to small towns. Sometimes they don't have the kind of access especially if they're in the reserve. So they're just coming back sporadically to our V.A. facilities. We have to do a lot better job when they're coming back to evaluate them, to see what they need, to touch base with them.

Source: CNN Town Hall 2020: 5 candidates back-to-back , Apr 22, 2019

Supports public option for Medicaid & Medicare

First of all, we need to bring down premiums -- and they're affecting everyone. You can do that many ways. One of my major proposals is to bring back that Public Option idea that's been floating around, that should have been put in, in the first place. That gives you a choice. You could do it with Medicaid, you can do it with Medicare, so that you have a less expensive option to pick from.
Source: CNN Town Hall 2020: 5 candidates back-to-back , Apr 22, 2019

Take on Big Pharma on prices & lack of competition

I would bring down the cost of pharmaceuticals. We need competition by having negotiation for Medicare prices. We should bring in less expensive drugs from other countries, like Canada. We can stop this horrible practice where big pharmaceuticals pay off, they literally pay off generics to keep the prices and the competition off the market. That's bad and we can fix this.
Source: CNN Town Hall 2020: 5 candidates back-to-back , Apr 22, 2019

For public option, taking on Big Pharma

As president, I would immediately put in a public option proposal to Congress and that could be for Medicaid or Medicare. But that is also a way to get to our goal of universal health care coverage. I would make sure that we have negotiations for prices under Medicare, that we bring in less expensive drugs from places like Canada and that we stop the practice where big pharma pays off their competitors to keep their products off the market.
Source: ABC This Week 2019 interviews for 2020 Democratic primary , Mar 31, 2019

We can bring drug prices down; Trump can't

Q: Is there anything Trump's done as president that wasn't bad?

A: There are a number of things that he's said he wants to do, like bring down prescription drug prices, that I agree with. My problem is, he doesn't have the will to actually get it done. Insulin, simple drug prices tripling, quadrupling, doesn't make any sense. We can bring those drug prices down.

Source: Meet the Press 2019 interview of presidential hopefuls , Mar 17, 2019

Medicare-for-all is aspirational and for the future, not now

Sen. Amy Klobuchar placed herself firmly in the center lane of the Democratic primary, calling popular progressive policy platforms "aspirational," and declining to fully commit to them. The Minnesota Democrat called the Green New Deal "aspirational" and said that Medicare-for-all is "something we can look to in the future."

Klobuchar's centrist positions puts her largely in a category alone, as many of her Democratic opponents have opted to fully embrace Medicare-for-all and the Green New Deal. But she may soon be joined in that group by other moderate candidates, such as Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown.

On health care, Klobuchar said she wanted to "build on" the Affordable Care Act, highlighting her support for a public option, rather than calling for an immediate transition to Medicare-for-all. "It could be a possibility in the future," she said, "but I'm looking for what's working now."

Source: Politico.com on 2020 Democratic primary hopefuls , Feb 18, 2019

Medicare-for-All for the future; public option now

Q: Your opinion on expanding ObamaCare?

A: I believe we have to get to universal health care in this country. We have to make sure that we build on the work of the Affordable Care Act. We need to expand coverage so that people can have a choice for a public option. You can do it with Medicare. You could also do it with Medicaid. This is a bill that I am an original co-sponsor of. It basically says let's expand Medicaid so you can buy into Medicaid and it will bring the prices down and we can cover more people. The other part of the equation is doing something about prescription drugs. I have one of the original bills to push to have Medicare negotiate prices, lift the ban, bring in less expensive drugs from Canada and stop the practice where pharma pays off generics to keep their products off the market.

Q: And Medicare for all?

A: I think it's something that we can look to for the future, but I want to get action now.

Source: CNN Town Hall: 2020 presidential hopefuls , Feb 18, 2019

Expand Medicare to age 55

Klobuchar would like to expand Medicare to include Americans age 55 and older, and possibly more. While she has long supported "single-payer, universal" government health coverage, the Minnesota senator has not yet said if she would back the concept of "Medicare for All," which would replace private health insurance with a government health care system.
Source: PBS News hour on 2020 Presidential hopefuls , Feb 10, 2019

Allow Medicare to directly negotiate prices

Lowering drug prices has also been a policy focus for Klobuchar; she introduced a bill to allow Medicare to directly negotiate prices, and co-authored a bill with Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, to speed up the availability of generic versions of high-cost drugs.
Source: PBS News hour on 2020 Presidential hopefuls , Feb 10, 2019

Allow sick people to obtain insurance

It would be hard to find two candidates further apart on issues than state Rep. Jim Newberger and U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who are fighting for the six year seat in the U.S. Senate. In a debate at the Minnesota State Fair, Republican Newberger called for a return to free-market health care, said he does not believe climate change is man-made and declared a wall is needed along the Mexican border.

Democrat Klobuchar, meanwhile, told the Minnesota Public Radio debate audience that federal laws such as allowing sick people to obtain insurance should be continued, said she agrees with a majority of scientists who think climate change is at least partly due to human activity and felt Mexican border security should be a combination of a wall, fence and personnel.

In a rare area of agreement, Klobuchar and Newberger said the federal government needs to find a way to keep prescription medicine costs down.

Source: Twin Cities Pioneer Press on 2018 Minnesota Senate debate , Aug 24, 2018

Crack down on the price of health care

I will fight for policies that crack down on the price of health care. I will insist that our government negotiate lower prices with pharmaceutical companies. Congress made a big mistake in the prescription drug bill when they banned negotiating with the big drug companies to get the best prices for our seniors. We should also aggressively fight health care fraud; push for a fair Medicare reimbursement system that doesn’t leave Minnesota at the end of the line; and work to reduce administrative costs.
Source: 2006 Senate campaign website, www.amyklobuchar.com, “Issues” , Jan 18, 2006

Universal coverage is our goal

I will fight to expand health care coverage for more Minnesotans and Americans, with universal coverage as our goal. As a first step towards that goal, I will push the federal government to work with the states to make sure that all children are insured and have access to basic preventive care and immunizations.

I will fight to improve the quality of health care in America. In many ways, we already enjoy the very best quality of care in the world?for those who have access and can afford it.

Source: 2006 Senate campaign website, www.amyklobuchar.com, “Issues” , Jan 18, 2006

Amy Klobuchar on Voting Record

1996: testified & passed 48-hr maternity hospital stay rule

[When my daughter was born] I was forced by insurance rules to leave the hospital after 24 hours with no sleep and a sick baby in intensive care. I became determined to change the policy.

Summoning the courage to talk about episiotomies and breast pumping in front of TV cameras. And I quickly realized that my testimony had the advantage of being so embarrassing to a still male-dominated legislature that it was nearly impossible to NOT pass the legislation.

Noting the support for the bill by pediatricians and ob-gyns alike, I concluded my testimony before one Senate committee by appealing for bipartisan support and pointing out that New Jersey's Republican governor Christine Todd Whitman had made such a bill one of the centerpieces of her legislative agenda. "Certainly the women and babies of Minnesota," I said, "should be protected as much as the women and babies of New Jersey." The 48-hour maternity hospital stay rule became law on March 20, 1996.

Source: The Senator Next Door, by Amy Klobuchar, p.123 , Aug 24, 2015

Improve services for people with autism & their families.

Klobuchar co-sponsored improving services for people with autism & their families

Amends the Public Health Service Act to require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to:

  1. convene, on behalf of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee, a Treatments, Interventions, and Services Evaluation Task Force to evaluate evidence-based biomedical and behavioral treatments and services for individuals with autism;
  2. establish a multi-year demonstration grant program for states to provide evidence-based autism treatments, interventions, and services.
  3. establish planning and demonstration grant programs for adults with autism;
  4. award grants to states for access to autism services following diagnosis;
  5. award grants to University Centers of Excellence for Developmental Disabilities to provide services and address the unmet needs of individuals with autism and their families;
  6. make grants to protection and advocacy systems to address the needs of individuals with autism and other emerging populations of individuals with disabilities; and
  7. award a grant to a national nonprofit organization for the establishment and maintenance of a national technical assistance center for autism services and information dissemination.
  8. Directs the Comptroller General to issue a report on the financing of autism services and treatments.
Source: Promise for Individuals With Autism Act (S.937 & HR.1881) 07-HR1881 on Apr 17, 2007

Establish a national childhood cancer database.

Klobuchar co-sponsored establishing a national childhood cancer database

Conquer Childhood Cancer Act of 2007 - A bill to advance medical research and treatments into pediatric cancers, ensure patients and families have access to the current treatments and information regarding pediatric cancers, establish a population-based national childhood cancer database, and promote public awareness of pediatric cancers.

    Authorizes the Secretary to award grants to childhood cancer professional and direct service organizations for the expansion and widespread implementation of:
  1. activities that provide information on treatment protocols to ensure early access to the best available therapies and clinical trials for pediatric cancers;
  2. activities that provide available information on the late effects of pediatric cancer treatment to ensure access to necessary long-term medical and psychological care; and
  3. direct resource services such as educational outreach for parents, information on school reentry and postsecondary education, and resource directories or referral services for financial assistance, psychological counseling, and other support services.
Legislative Outcome: House version H.R.1553; became Public Law 110-285 on 7/29/2008.
Source: Conquer Childhood Cancer Act (S911/HR1553) 07-S911 on Mar 19, 2007

Merge Alzheimers diagnosis and care benefit.

Klobuchar co-sponsored HOPE for Alzheimer's Act

Congressional Summary:The purpose of this Act is to increase diagnosis of Alzheimer`s disease and related dementias, leading to better care and outcomes for Americans living with Alzheimer`s disease and related dementias. Congress makes the following findings:

  1. As many as half of the estimated 5.2 million Americans with Alzheimer`s disease have never received a diagnosis.
  2. An early and documented diagnosis and access to care planning services leads to better outcomes for individuals with Alzheimer`s disease.
  3. Combining the existing Medicare benefits of a diagnostic evaluation and care planning into a single package of services would help ensure that individuals receive an appropriate diagnosis as well as critical information about the disease and available care options.

Proponent`s argument for bill: (The Alzheimer`s Association, alz.org). The `Health Outcomes, Planning, and Education (HOPE) for Alzheimer`s Act` (S.709/H.R. 1507) is one of the Alzheimer`s Association`s top federal priorities for the 113th Congress. The HOPE for Alzheimer`s Act would improve diagnosis of Alzheimer`s diseas

Source: S.709/H.R. 1507 13-S0709 on Apr 11, 2013

Keep ObamaCare's prevention, treatment, & recovery services.

Klobuchar signed keeping ObamaCare's prevention, treatment, & recovery services

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.

Source: Letter Regarding Fighting the Opioid Crisis 17LTR-ACA on Feb 3, 2017

Keep healthcare mandate, according to CC survey.

Klobuchar opposes the CC survey question on healthcare mandate

The Christian Coalition Voter Guide inferred whether candidates agree or disagree with the statement, 'Repealing the Nationalized Health Care System that Forces Citizens to Buy Insurance ' Christian Coalition's self-description: "Christian Voter Guide is a clearing-house for traditional, pro-family voter guides. We do not create voter guides, nor do we interview or endorse candidates."

Source: Christian Coalition Surve 18CC-5 on Jul 1, 2018

Disclose payments from manufacturers to physicians.

Klobuchar signed Physician Payments Sunshine Act

Source: S.301&HR.3138 2009-S301 on Jan 22, 2009

Other candidates on Health Care: Amy Klobuchar on other issues:

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