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Chris Coons on Health Care

 


Malpractice lawsuits with no cap offer important redress

Q: Would you work to amend the reform bill to include malpractice reform?

COONS: I think it is critical that folks in this country be able to stand up to and take on powerful interests. And where individuals are harmed, that they're able to go into court and to seek redress. I don't support putting caps on liability because it is only the threat of a significant recovery that allows protection for consumers, for patients, for investors. I think that's an important part of the American legal system.

Source: CNN's Wolf Blitzer moderating 2010 Delaware Senate debate , Oct 13, 2010

Extend, perfect, and implement ObamaCare

Q: Under the new health care law, children now can stay on their parents' insurance policies until the age of 26. People can no longer be denied coverage for pre-existing conditions. Insurers are prohibited from rescinding coverage if a customer becomes sick and they can't impose any lifetime limits on essential benefits like hospital stays or expensive treatments. You say you want to repeal all of that?

O'DONNELL: Those are very important things that are part of insurance reform, not health care reform. I want to fight to fully repeal that so that we can begin to enact real reform.

COONS: I support the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. I think it made significant advances, and you outlined many of them. I argue for extending, perfecting, and implementing this landmark bill. It's not perfect. There are problems with it. But I think rather than turning it back and repealing and going for another year or two of endless partisan bickering, this was a critical piece of legislation

Source: CNN's Wolf Blitzer moderating 2010 Delaware Senate debate , Oct 13, 2010

Groups representing nurses & seniors support ObamaCare

O'DONNELL: ObamaCare gives massive control over health care to Uncle Sam, who has no business in the examination room between you and your doctor.

COONS: That's a great slogan. You toss it around everywhere you go. How does this bill actually put Uncle Sam in the examination room between doctors and patients?

O'DONNELL: It dictates what kind of treatment a doctor can and can't do, what kind it will fund.

COONS: So why did the organization that fights for and represents America's nurses, America's seniors, America's hospitals, and America's doctors, all endorse and support this bill?

O'DONNELL: Many of those branches on the state level, including here in Delaware, have said we don't support what the national office has done.

COONS: Christiana Care hosted a debate earlier today. I was sorry you chose not to join us. It would have been great to hear the response of the physicians and the nurses and the hospital administrators to your suggesting that they didn't support a bill they lobbied for.

Source: CNN's Wolf Blitzer moderating 2010 Delaware Senate debate , Oct 13, 2010

Responsibly implement healthcare law while containing costs

Perhaps the greatest gulf between Coons and O'Donnell came on the question of whether they supported the recently passed healthcare law. Coons said he would work to implement the law "responsibly," noting that "while we implement healthcare, we have to contain costs without squelching innovation."

But O'Donnell called for the "full repeal" of the healthcare law, saying that "the federal government was never intended to be as invasive and intrusive into our lives as it is now."

Source: The Hill coverage of 2010 Delaware Senate debate , Sep 16, 2010

Longstanding need to fix health care system

Everyone in Delaware has a story to tell about health care and the longstanding need to fix our nation's health care system. The parent with a child that went without medicine when they were sick, the person with diabetes who lost coverage when they changed jobs, the new college graduate who is struggling to find their first job and hopes they don't get sick in the meantime.
Source: 2010 Senate campaign website, chriscoons.com, "Issues" , Jul 20, 2010

Voted NO on the Ryan Budget: Medicare choice, tax & spending cuts.

Proponent's Arguments for voting Yes:

[Sen. DeMint, R-SC]: The Democrats have Medicare on a course of bankruptcy. Republicans are trying to save Medicare & make sure there are options for seniors in the future. Medicare will not be there 5 or 10 years from now. Doctors will not see Medicare patients at the rate [Congress will] pay.

[Sen. Ayotte, R-NH]: We have 3 choices when it comes to addressing rising health care costs in Medicare. We can do nothing & watch the program go bankrupt in 2024. We can go forward with the President's proposal to ration care through an unelected board of 15 bureaucrats. Or we can show real leadership & strengthen the program to make it solvent for current beneficiaries, and allow future beneficiaries to make choices.

Opponent's Arguments for voting No:

[Sen. Conrad, D-ND]: In the House Republican budget plan, the first thing they do is cut $4 trillion in revenue over the next 10 years. For the wealthiest among us, they give them an additional $1 trillion in tax reductions. To offset these massive new tax cuts, they have decided to shred the social safety net. They have decided to shred Medicare. They have decided to shred program after program so they can give more tax cuts to those who are the wealthiest among us.

[Sen. Merkley, D-TK]: The Republicans chose to end Medicare as we know it. The Republican plan reopens the doughnut hole. That is the hole into which seniors fall when, after they have some assistance with the first drugs they need, they get no assistance until they reach a catastrophic level. It is in that hole that seniors have had their finances devastated. We fixed it. Republicans want to unfix it and throw seniors back into the abyss. Then, instead of guaranteeing Medicare coverage for a fixed set of benefits for every senior--as Medicare does now--the Republican plan gives seniors a coupon and says: Good luck. Go buy your insurance. If the insurance goes up, too bad.
Status: Failed 40-57

Reference: Ryan Budget Plan; Bill HCR34&SCR21 ; vote number 11-SV077 on May 25, 2011

Increase funding for occupational & physical therapy.

Coons signed Medicare Access to Rehabilitation Services Act (MARS)

Medicare Access to Rehabilitation Services Act of 2011 - Amends title XVIII (Medicare) of the Social Security Act to repeal the cap on outpatient physical therapy, speech-language pathology, and occupational therapy services of the type furnished by a physician or as an incident to physicians' services.

SEC. 2. OUTPATIENT THERAPY CAP REPEAL.

Section 1833 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395(l)) is amended by striking subsection (g).

[Explanatory note from Wikipedia.com "Therapy Cap"]:

In 1997 Congress established per-person Medicare spending limits, or "therapy cap" for nonhospital outpatient therapy, but responding to concerns that some people with Medicare need extensive services, it has since placed temporary moratoriums on the caps. The therapy cap is a combined $1,810 Medicare cap for physical therapy and speech language pathology, and a separate $1,810 cap for occupational therapy ($1870 for 2011). Medicare patients requiring rehabilitation from disabilities, car accidents, hip injuries, stroke, and other ailments would be limited to roughly two months worth of treatments at an outpatient therapy clinic. Any patients that exceed the cap, whether they are healed or not, would have to stop therapy, or pay for the therapy services out of their own pocket.Several medical associations have lobbied against therapy caps because the bill inadvertently restricted disabled seniors, stroke patients, and other severe cases from receiving therapy treatments.

Source: HR.1546&S829 11-S0829 on Apr 14, 2011

Merge Alzheimers diagnosis and care benefit.

Coons 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

Other candidates on Health Care: Chris Coons on other issues:
DE Gubernatorial:
Jack Markell
DE Senatorial:
Christine O`Donnell
Tom Carper

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Page last updated: Aug 05, 2014