John Kerry on Health Care
Jr Senator (MA), Democratic nominee for President
Find common ground to cover 11 million uninsured children
While the Republicans quest to hold on to power damaged our democracy, the real problems that keep American families up at night remained unsolved - problems like health care for the 11 million uninsured children in America.
Keeping Americaís Promise believes it is time to find the common ground to cover those 11 million children in this country living without health insurance.
Source: PAC website, www.KeepingAmericasPromise.com
, Nov 17, 2006
Fight for affordable health care for all children
Since when wasnít it a big idea, as almost 48 million Americans, now have no health insurance, 11 million children, and weíre the only industrial nation in the world that doesnít -- I still think itís a big idea to have affordable health care
for every single American, and we need to go out and fight for it. Weíre not going to stand for watching more children abandoned because we donít give them health care. We are going to stand up and fight.
Source: Annual 2006 Take Back America Conference
, Jun 14, 2006
Flu vaccine failure means system is failing US families
Q: Suddenly we find ourselves with a severe shortage of flu vaccine. How did that happen?
BUSH: We relied upon a company out of England to provide about half of the flu vaccines for US citizens, and it turned out that the vaccine they were producing
was contaminated. And so we took the right action and didnít allow contaminated medicine into our country. Weíre working with Canada to help us [get the] vaccines necessary. My call to our fellow Americans is if youíre healthy, if youíre younger, donít
get a flu shot this year. Help us prioritize those who need to get the flu shot, the elderly and the young. I havenít gotten a flu shot, and I donít intend to because I want to make sure those who are most vulnerable get treated.
This really underscores the problem with the American health-care system. Itís not working for the American family. And itís gotten worse under President Bush over the course of the last years.
Source: [Xref Bush] Third Bush-Kerry Debate, in Tempe Arizona
, Oct 13, 2004
Passed 56 individual bills that Iíve personally written
BUSH: Kerry talked about the Medicare plan, has he been in the US Senate for 20 years? He has no record on reforming of health care. No record at all. He introduced some 300 bills and heís passed five. No record of leadership. I came to Washington to
solve problems. I was deeply concerned about seniors having to choose between prescription drugs and food. And so I led. And in 2006, our seniors will get a prescription drug coverage in Medicare.
KERRY: Once again, Bush is misleading America.
Iíve actually passed 56 individual bills that Iíve personally written and, in addition to that, and not always under my name, there are amendments on certain bills. But more importantly, with respect to the question of no record, I helped write-
I did write, I was one of the original authors of the early childhood health care and the expansion of health care that we did in the middle of the 1990s. And Iím very proud of that. So Bushís wrong.
Source: [Xref Bush[ Third Bush-Kerry debate, in Tempe AZ
, Oct 13, 2004
Lawsuits contribute less than 1% of all healthcare costs
Bush and his friends try to make a big deal out of trial lawyers suing medical professionals. Is it a problem? Yes, itís a problem. Do we need to fix it, particularly for OB-GYNs and for brain surgeons and others? Yes. But itís less than 1% of the total
cost of health care. Your premiums are going up. Youíve seen copays go up, deductibles go up. Everythingís gone up. Five-million people have lost their health insurance under Bush, and heís done nothing about it. I have a plan to lower the cost of health
care for you. I have a plan to cover all children. I have a plan to let you buy-in to the same health care senators and congressmen give themselves. I have a plan thatís going to allow people 55 to 64 to buy-in to Medicare early. And I have a plan that
will take the catastrophic cases out of the system, off your backs, pay for it out of a federal fund, which lowers the premiums for everybody in America, makes American business more competitive, and makes health care more affordable.
Source: Second Bush-Kerry Debate, in St. Louis MO
, Oct 8, 2004
Choose your doctor and your healthcare plan
BUSH: Kerry says heís going to have a novel health care plan. The federal governmentís going to run it. It is the largest increase in federal government health care ever. Thatís what liberals do. They create government-sponsored health care.
Maybe you think that makes sense. I donít. Government-sponsored health care would lead to rationing. It would ruin the quality of health care in America.
My health care plan is not what Bush described. It is not a government takeover. You have choice. Choose your doctor. Choose your plan. The government has nothing to do with it.
In fact, it doesnít ask you to do anything. If you donít want to take it, you donít have to. If you like your high premiums, you keep Ďem. Thatís the way we leave it.
Source: [Xref Bush] Second Bush-Kerry Debate, in St. Louis MO
, Oct 8, 2004
Health care is not a privilege but a right for all
The story of people struggling for health care is the story of so many Americans. But itís not the story of senators and members of Congress. Because we give ourselves great health care and you get the bill. Your familyís health care is just as important
as any politicianís in Washington DC. When Iím President, America will stop being the only advanced nation which fails to understand that health care is not a privilege for the wealthy, the connected, and the elected - it is a right for all Americans.
Source: Acceptance speech to the Democratic National Convention
, Jul 29, 2004
Research, prevention, and wellness can reduce Medicare costs
Q: Will you do something about the rate of growth in Medicare?
A: You donít cut the benefits to people that youíve promised. You can do things to guarantee that you keep Medicare solvent, as weíve done. We did that in the US Congress.
And we did it with respect to Social Security. If we had a medical care system in this country that dealt better with research, with prevention, with wellness, with the whole parameter of health care issues, we could begin to reduce the costs of Medicare
Source: Democratic 2004 primary Debate in Greenville SC
, Jan 29, 2004
Day 1: Make health care a right, not a privilege
Q: After the inauguration, what would be your first action as president?
A: I will send to Congress a health care plan that stops spiraling costs, covers every child in America,
and makes it possible for every American to get the same health care as any member of Congress. Making health care a right and not a privilege is something worth fighting for.
Source: Associated Press policy Q&A, ďDAY 1Ē
, Jan 25, 2004
Simultaneously address costs, coverage, and choice
There are four ways we can deal with healthcare problems as a country.My plan builds on and strengthens the current public/private system
of health care and at the same time simplifies it. I definitely donít want to put Americans in some sort of one-size-fits-all health-care program; I want to give them more affordable options and greater choices.
Source: A Call to Service, by John Kerry, p.125-9
, Oct 1, 2003
- First, we can confront the issues of cost, access and quality in a piecemeal way, much as we did during most of the last decade.
- Second, we could try to overwhelm the
problems with a massive expansion of the federal governmentís role in health care.
- Third, we could choose not to institute any reforms-the position of the Bush administration.
- I offer is a fourth proposal that simultaneously addresses three
challenges: bringing costs under control; offering access to affordable coverage to every American; and guaranteeing that every child in America will have health insurance coverage.
Lack of accessible health care is a disgrace
We must end the disgrace of America being the only industrialized nation on the planet not to make health care accessible to all our citizens.
Source: Speech at Massachusetts Democratic Convention
, May 31, 2002
John Kerry on Health Insurance
FactCheck: Kerryís plan covers 95% of Americans, not 100%
KERRY: ďI have a plan to cover all AmericansĒ for health care.
FACT CHECK: Actually, his plan wouldnít cover all Americans.
It would increase the percentage who have coverage from 84% currently to an estimated 92% to 95%. But several million would still be left uninsured.
Source: Analysis of Third Bush-Kerry debate (FactCheck 2004)
, Oct 14, 2004
Health care plan is not an empty promise and provide choice
My health care planís not an empty promise. Bush used that very plan as a reason for seniors to accept his prescription drug plan. He said, if itís good enough for their congressmen and senators to have choice, seniors ought to have choice. What we do is
we have choice. I choose Blue Cross/Blue Shield; others choose other programs. But the fact is weíre going to help Americans be able to buy into it. Those that can afford it are going to buy in themselves. Weíre not giving this away for nothing.
Source: Third Bush-Kerry Debate, in Tempe Arizona
, Oct 13, 2004
Covering more people can lower health costs in many ways
We allow you-if you choose to, you donít have to-but we give you broader competition to allow you to buy into the same health care plan that senators and congressmen give themselves. If itís good enough for us, itís good enough for every American. I
believe that your health care is just as important as any politician in Washington. You want to buy into it, you can. We give you broader competition. That helps lower prices. In addition to that, weíre going to allow people 55 to 64 to buy into Medicare
early. Most importantly, we give small business a 50 percent tax credit so that after we lower the costs of health care, they also get, whether theyíre self-employed or a small business, a lower cost to be able to cover their employees. What happens is
when you begin to get people covered like that-for instance in diabetes, if you diagnose diabetes early, you could save $50 billion in the health care system of America by avoiding surgery and dialysis. It works. And Iím going to offer it to America.
Source: Third Bush-Kerry debate, in Tempe AZ
, Oct 13, 2004
It is morally wrong to leave so many Americans uninsured
It is morally wrong to tolerate an America with so many uninsured and underinsured Americans. Working Americans who do not have health insurance live in the neighborhoods we call home. We see them every day behind the counter and around the corner.
They build Americaís houses, run our small businesses, bag our groceries, and care for our elderly and our kids. And some American families, more than others, tend to fall through the cracks of our health care coverage system.
Source: Our Plan For America, p.101
, Aug 10, 2004
Start providing health insurance for every child in America
Our plan starts by providing health insurance for every child in America. Under the Kerry-Edwards plan, the federal government will pay the full costs for the 20 million children in the Medicaid program. In return, we will ask states to expand coverage
to children in families with higher incomes than are currently eligible, as well as low-income adults. It will expand coverage to millions of people & provide much needed relief for states that are struggling under persistent growing budgetary pressures.
Source: Our Plan For America, p.103
, Aug 10, 2004
Provide a bonus for states to get children insured
Kids will be signed up automatically at hospitals, community health centers, and schools. And $5 billion in enrollment bonuses will be available to states as an incentive to find uninsured children and keep them covered. Children do not choose their
parents and whether to have health insurance. Children deserve a good start - with both high quality education and health care. Under our plan, every child in America will have health insurance, and every parent will have a little more peace of mind.
Source: Our Plan For America, p.103
, Aug 10, 2004
More help to those who fall through the cracks of the system
We will provide additional help for those who need the most help: Americans between the ages of 55 and 64 years old often have the hardest time finding an affordable health plan. Our plan provides millions of low and moderate income Americans in this age
group with a 25% tax credit to help pay the cost of their premiums. Americans who are between jobs often cannot afford health insurance. Our plan helps low and moderate income Americans between jobs by offering them a 75% tax credit to help pay for their
premiums. Small business employees are far less likely to have health insurance than employees of large business because health insurers tend to charge small businesses higher premiums for the same coverage. We will offer small businesses a tax
credit that covers up to 50% of their premium contribution for low-to-moderate income employees, Finally, low-to-moderate income individuals will get a tax credit to help pay the cost of participating in the Congressional Health Plan.
Source: Our Plan For America, p.104
, Aug 10, 2004
Save families up to $1,000 a year on their premiums
Since 2000, four million people have lost their health insurance. Your premiums, your co-payments, your deductibles have all gone through the roof. Our health care plan for a stronger America cracks down on the waste, greed, and abuse in our health care
system and will save families up to $1,000 a year on their premiums. Youíll get to pick your own doctor -and patients and doctors, not insurance company bureaucrats, will make medical decisions. Medicare will negotiate lower drug prices for seniors.
Source: Acceptance speech to the Democratic National Convention
, Jul 29, 2004
Catastrophic health coverage for all costs over $50,000
Q: Edwards has been saying your health care plan is too expensive. Is his plan ambitious enough?
KERRY: No. My program is more ambitious, because what I would roll back Bushís tax cut for the wealthiest Americans, and create a federal fund that takes
all the catastrophic cases in America out of the private system, which means, effectively, every individual in every business in America will be capped at $50,000 of risk. That will provide each American who has health care today with a $1,000 minimum
reduction in their premium.
Q: Sen. Edwards, that is one of the major differences between your plan. Is that idea affordable?
EDWARDS: The issue becomes whether you believe health care is an isolated problem. For those in poverty and the struggling
middle class, if one thing goes wrong-if they have a health care problem-they go right off the cliff. I mandate health care for all kids and cover the most vulnerable adults. But we also have to find ways to not only lift these families out of poverty.
Source: [Xref Edwards] Democratic 2004 primary debate at USC
, Feb 26, 2004
Cut $350B of bureaucracy and cover 90% of Americans
We have the opportunity, if we act now, to make health care a fairly straightforward matter in the future. Here, in summary form, I my bottom line:
Source: A Call to Service, by John Kerry, p.142-3
, Oct 1, 2003
- All Americans will have access to the same health-care coverage that their member of Congress
- A commitment to work until every American has affordable health insurance-starting with a plan that covers 99% of children and 96% of all Americans.
- Contain soaring health-care costs by making prescription drugs more affordable,
getting rid of frivolous lawsuits, reducing uncompensated care, and giving patients affordable health-care choices.
- Releif to employers who offer affordable coverage to their employees by covering a portion of their highest cost cases.
Save costs by cutting bureaucracy; that cuts nearly $350 billion a year out of the health-care system.
Cover more citizens with health plan like Congress gets
KERRY: Every American ought to have access to affordable health care through the same plan that the President & Congress give themselves. I will lay out how you can do that, how you can buy into Medicare [at age] 55, and also how we can cover children.
But when Dean became governor, 90.5% of the citizens of Vermont were already covered. When he left as governor, 90.4% were covered. So youíve got this problem of bringing people into the system and getting to the percentage that America ought to get to,
which is covering more citizens.
DEAN: When I came into office, Vermont had a program that insured everybody up to the age of 6 to 225% of the poverty [level]. I expanded that up to the age of 18 for 300% of the poverty [level]. That means if you live
in a family that makes $54,000 a year or less in our state, everybody under the age of 18 gets coverage. In fact, Senator, about 96.4% of all our people are covered today, something which I intend to deliver to America when you all make me president.
Source: [X-ref to Dean] Democratic Debate in Columbia SC
, May 3, 2003
Providing health care for kids is an ethical issue
[To William Weld]: Why did you veto health care for kids that donít have it? Thatís an ethical issue.
Source: Kerry/Weld: A Classic Senate Race In Massachusetts, CNN.com
, Oct 29, 1996
John Kerry on Voting Record
Key issue: Does government control reduce cost?
Kerry was less clear on [his preferences regarding] the Clinton health care plan--involving unprecedented government intervention in the health markets--to dramatically expand insurance coverage.
Kerry, who had once suffered his own bout with skyrocketing health costs said a crucial question to be considered [about health care plans] was: ďDoes it reduce cost?Ē
Source: Complete Biography By The Boston Globe, p.287-8
, Apr 27, 2004
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.
Reference: Ryan Budget Plan;
; vote number 11-SV077
on May 25, 2011
Status: Failed 40-57
Voted YES on regulating tobacco as a drug.
Congressional Summary:Amends the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) to provide for the regulation of tobacco products by the Secretary of Health and Human Services through the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Defines a tobacco product as any product made or derived from tobacco that is intended for human consumption. Excludes from FDA authority the tobacco leaf and tobacco farms.
Opponent's argument to vote No:Rep. HEATH SHULER (D, NC-11): Putting a dangerous, overworked FDA in charge of tobacco is a threat to public safety. Last year, the FDA commissioner testified that he had serious concerns that this bill could undermine the public health role of the FDA. And the FDA Science Board said the FDA's inability to keep up with scientific advancements means that Americans' lives will be at risk.
Proponent's argument to vote Yes:
Rep. HENRY WAXMAN (D, CA-30): The bill before us, the Waxman-Platts bill, has been carefully crafted over more than a decade, in close consultation with the public health community. It's been endorsed by over 1,000 different public health, scientific, medical, faith, and community organizations.
Sen. HARRY REID (D, NV): Yesterday, 3,500 children who had never smoked before tried their first cigarette. For some, it will also be their last cigarette but certainly not all. If you think 3,500 is a scary number, how about 3.5 million. That is a pretty scary number. That is how many American high school kids smoke--3.5 million. Nearly all of them aren't old enough to buy cigarettes. It means we have as many boys and girls smoking as are participating in athletics in high schools. We have as many as are playing football, basketball, track and field, and baseball combined.
Reference: Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act;
; vote number 2009-S207
on Jun 11, 2009
Voted YES on expanding the Children's Health Insurance Program.
Proponent's argument to vote Yes:
- Reauthorizes State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) through FY2013 at increased levels.
- Gives states the option to cover targeted low-income pregnant women
- Phases out coverage for nonpregnant childless adults.
Rep. FRANK PALLONE (D, NJ-6): In the last Congress, we passed legislation that enjoyed bipartisan support as well as the support of the American people. Unfortunately, it did not enjoy the support of the President, who vetoed our bill twice, and went on to proclaim that uninsured children can simply go to the emergency room to have their medical needs met. As the Nation moves deeper into a recession and unemployment rates continue to rise, millions of Americans are joining the ranks of the uninsured, many of whom are children. We can't delay. We must enact this legislation now.
Opponent's argument to vote No:Rep. ROY BLUNT (R, MI-7):
This bill doesn't require the States to meet any kind of threshold standard that would ensure that States were doing everything they could to find kids who needed insurance before they begin to spend money to find kids who may not have the same need. Under the bill several thousands of American families would be poor enough to qualify for SCHIP and have the government pay for their health care, but they'd be rich enough to still be required to pay the alternative minimum tax. The bill changes welfare participation laws by eliminating the 5-year waiting period for legal immigrants to lawfully reside in the country before they can participate in this program. In the final bill, we assume that 65% of the children receiving the benefit wouldn't get the benefit anymore. It seems to me this bill needs more work, would have benefited from a committee hearing. It doesn't prioritize poor kids to ensure that they get health care first.
Reference: SCHIP Reauthorization Act;
; vote number 2009-S031
on Jan 29, 2009
Voted YES on overriding veto on expansion of Medicare.
Pres. GEORGE W. BUSH's veto message (argument to vote No):
- Extends Medicare to cover additional preventive services.
- Includes body mass index and end-of-life planning among initial preventive physical examinations.
- Eliminates by 2014 [the currently higher] copayment rates for Medicare psychiatric services.
I support the primary objective of this legislation, to forestall reductions in physician payments. Yet taking choices away from seniors to pay physicians is wrong. This bill is objectionable, and I am vetoing it because:In addition, H.R. 6331 would delay important reforms like the Durable Medical
Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics, and Supplies competitive bidding program. Changing policy in mid-stream is also confusing to beneficiaries who are receiving services from quality suppliers at lower prices. In order to slow the growth in Medicare spending, competition within the program should be expanded, not diminished.
- It would harm beneficiaries by taking private health plan options away from them.
- It would undermine the Medicare prescription drug program.
- It is fiscally irresponsible, and it would imperil the long-term fiscal soundness of Medicare by using short-term budget gimmicks that do not solve the problem.
Proponent's argument to vote Yes: Sen. PATTY MURRAY (D, WA): President Bush vetoed a bill that would make vital improvements to the program that has helped ensure that millions of seniors and the disabled can get the care they need. This bill puts an emphasis on preventive care that will help our seniors stay healthy, and it will help to keep costs down by enabling those patients to get care before they get seriously ill. This bill will improve coverage for low-income seniors who need expert help to afford basic care. It will help make sure our seniors get mental health care.
Reference: Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act;
; vote number 2008-S177
on Jul 15, 2008
Voted NO on means-testing to determine Medicare Part D premium.
CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY: To require wealthy Medicare beneficiaries to pay a greater share of their Medicare Part D premiums.
SUPPORTER'S ARGUMENT FOR VOTING YES: Sen. ENSIGN: This amendment is to means test Medicare Part D the same way we means test Medicare Part B. An individual senior making over $82,000 a year, or a senior couple making over $164,000, would be expected to pay a little over $10 a month extra. That is all we are doing. This amendment saves a couple billion dollars over the next 5 years. It is very reasonable. There is nothing else in this budget that does anything on entitlement reform, and we all know entitlements are heading for a train wreck in this country. We ought to at least do this little bit for our children for deficit reduction.
OPPONENT'S ARGUMENT FOR VOTING NO: Sen. BAUCUS: The problem with this amendment is exactly what the sponsor said: It is exactly like Part B. Medicare Part B is a premium that is paid with respect to doctors' examinations and Medicare reimbursement. Part D is the drug benefit. Part D premiums vary significantly nationwide according to geography and according to the plans offered. It is nothing like Part B.
Second, any change in Part D is required to be in any Medicare bill if it comes up. We may want to make other Medicare changes. We don't want to be restricted to means testing.
Third, this should be considered broad health care reform, at least Medicare reform, and not be isolated in this case. LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Amendment rejected, 42-56
Bill S.Amdt.4240 to S.Con.Res.70
; vote number 08-S063
on Mar 13, 2008
Voted NO on allowing tribal Indians to opt out of federal healthcare.
TRIBAL MEMBER CHOICE PROGRAM: Members of federally-recognized Indian Tribes shall be provided the opportunity to voluntarily enroll, with a risk-adjusted subsidy for the purchase of qualified health insurance in order to--
- improve Indian access to high quality health care services;
- provide incentives to Indian patients to seek preventive health care services;
- create opportunities for Indians to participate in the health care decision process;
- encourage effective use of health care services by Indians; and
- allow Indians to make health care coverage & delivery decisions & choices.
SUPPORTER'S ARGUMENT FOR VOTING YES:Sen. COBURN: The underlying legislation, S.1200, does not fix the underlying problems with tribal healthcare. It does not fix rationing. It does not fix waiting lines. It does not fix the inferior quality that is being applied to a lot of Native Americans and Alaskans in this country. It does not fix
any of those problems. In fact, it authorizes more services without making sure the money is there to follow it.
Those who say a failure to reauthorize the Indian Health Care Improvement Act is a violation of our trust obligations are correct. However, I believe simply reauthorizing this system with minor modifications is an even greater violation of that commitment.
OPPONENT'S ARGUMENT FOR VOTING NO:Sen. DORGAN: It is not more money necessarily that is only going to solve the problem. But I guarantee you that less money will not solve the problem. If you add another program for other Indians who can go somewhere else and be able to present a card, they have now taken money out of the system and purchased their own insurance--then those who live on the reservation with the current Indian Health Service clinic there has less money. How does that work to help the folks who are stranded with no competition?
LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Amendment rejected, 28-67
Reference: Tribal Member Choice Program;
Bill SA.4034 to SA.3899 to S.1200
; vote number 08-S025
on Feb 14, 2008
Voted YES on adding 2 to 4 million children to SCHIP eligibility.
Allows State Children's Health Insurance Programs (SCHIP), that require state legislation to meet additional requirements imposed by this Act, additional time to make required plan changes. Pres. Bush vetoed this bill on Dec. 12, 2007, as well as a version (HR976) from Feb. 2007.
Proponents support voting YES because:
Rep. DINGELL: This is not a perfect bill, but it is an excellent bipartisan compromise. The bill provides health coverage for 3.9 million children who are eligible, yet remain uninsured. It meets the concerns expressed in the President's veto message [from HR976]:
- It terminates the coverage of childless adults.
- It targets bonus payments only to States that increase enrollments of the poorest uninsured children, and it prohibits States from covering families with incomes above $51,000.
- It contains adequate enforcement to ensure that only US citizens are covered.
Opponents recommend voting NO because:
Rep. DEAL: This bill
[fails to] fix the previous legislation that has been vetoed:
- On illegal immigration: Would the verification system prevent an illegal alien from fraudulently using another person's name to obtain SCHIP benefits? No.
- On adults in SCHIP: Up to 10% of the enrollees in SCHIP will be adults, not children, in the next 5 years, and money for poor children shouldn't go to cover adults.
- On crowd-out: The CBO still estimates there will be some 2 million people who will lose their private health insurance coverage and become enrolled in a government-run program.
Veto message from President Bush:
Like its predecessor, HR976, this bill does not put poor children first and it moves our country's health care system in the wrong direction. Ultimately, our goal should be to move children who have no health insurance to private coverage--not to move children who already have private health insurance to government coverage. As a result, I cannot sign this legislation.
Reference: Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act;
Bill H.R. 3963
; vote number 2007-403
on Nov 1, 2007
Voted YES on requiring negotiated Rx prices for Medicare part D.
Would require negotiating with pharmaceutical manufacturers the prices that may be charged to prescription drug plan sponsors for covered Medicare part D drugs.
Proponents support voting YES because:
This legislation is an overdue step to improve part D drug benefits. The bipartisan bill is simple and straightforward. It removes the prohibition from negotiating discounts with pharmaceutical manufacturers, and requires the Secretary of Health & Human Services to negotiate. This legislation will deliver lower premiums to the seniors, lower prices at the pharmacy and savings for all taxpayers.
It is equally important to understand that this legislation does not do certain things. HR4 does not preclude private plans from getting additional discounts on medicines they offer seniors and people with disabilities. HR4 does not establish a national formulary. HR4 does not require price controls. HR4 does not hamstring research and development by pharmaceutical houses.
HR4 does not require using the Department of Veterans Affairs' price schedule.
Opponents support voting NO because:
Does ideological purity trump sound public policy? It shouldn't, but, unfortunately, it appears that ideology would profoundly change the Medicare part D prescription drug program, a program that is working well, a program that has arrived on time and under budget. The changes are not being proposed because of any weakness or defect in the program, but because of ideological opposition to market-based prices. Since the inception of the part D program, America's seniors have had access to greater coverage at a lower cost than at any time under Medicare.
Under the guise of negotiation, this bill proposes to enact draconian price controls on pharmaceutical products. Competition has brought significant cost savings to the program. The current system trusts the marketplace, with some guidance, to be the most efficient arbiter of distribution.
Reference: Medicare Prescription Drug Price Negotiation Act;
Bill S.3 & H.R.4
; vote number 2007-132
on Apr 18, 2007
Status: Cloture rejected Cloture vote rejected, 55-42 (3/5ths required)
Voted NO on limiting medical liability lawsuits to $250,000.
A "cloture motion" cuts off debate. Voting YEA indicates support for the bill as written, in this case to cap medical liability lawsuits. Voting NAY indicates opposition to the bill or a desire to amend it. This bill would "provide improved medical care by reducing the excessive burden the liability system places on the health care delivery system." It would limit medical lawsuit noneconomic damages to $250,000 from the health care provider, and no more than $500,000 from multiple health care institutions.
Proponents of the motion recommend voting YEA because:
- Many doctors have had to either stop practicing medicine due to increased insurance premiums.
- Patients are affected as well--due to rising malpractice rates, more and more patients are not able to find the medical specialists they need.
- The cost of medical malpractice insurance premiums are having wide-ranging effects. It is a national problem, and it is time for a national solution.
- I am pleased that
S. 22 extends liability protections to all health care providers and institutions.
- These bills are a commonsense solution to a serious problem, and it is time for us to vote up or down on this legislation.
Opponents of the motion recommend voting NAY because:
Reference: Medical Care Access Protection Act;
Bill S. 22
; vote number 2006-115
on May 8, 2006
- We have virtually no evidence that caps on economic damages will actually lower insurance rates. And in my view, these caps are not fair to victims.
- If we want to reduce malpractice insurance premiums we must address these problems as well as looking closely at the business practices of the insurance companies. What we shouldn't do is limit the recovery of victims of horrible injury to an arbitrarily low sum.
- This is obviously a complicated issue. This is the kind of issue that needs to be explored in depth in our committees so that a consensus can emerge. So I will vote no on cloture, and I hope that these bills will go through committees before we begin floor consideration of this important topic.
Voted YES on expanding enrollment period for Medicare Part D.
To provide for necessary beneficiary protections in order to ensure access to coverage under the Medicare part D prescription drug program. Voting YES would extend the 6-month enrollment period for the Prescription Drug Benefit Program to the entire year of 2006 and allows beneficiaries to change plans once in that year, without penalty, after enrollment. Also would fully reimburse pharmacies, states and individuals for cost in 2006 for covered Medicare Part D drugs.
Reference: Medicare Part D Amendment;
Bill S Amdt 2730 to HR 4297
; vote number 2006-005
on Feb 2, 2006
Voted YES on increasing Medicaid rebate for producing generics.
Vote on an amendment that removes an increase in the Medicaid deduction rebate for generic drugs from 11% to 17%. The effect of the amendment, according to its sponsor, is as follows: "This bill eliminates the ability of generic drugs to be sold using Medicaid. Over half the prescription drugs used in Medicaid are generic. Because we have raised the fees so dramatically on what a generic drug company must pay a pharmacy to handle the drug, pharmacies are not going to use the generic. In the long run, that will cost the Medicaid Program billions of dollars. My amendment corrects that situation." A Senator opposing the amendment said: "This bill has in it already very significant incentives for generic utilization through the way we reimburse generics. Brand drugs account for 67% of Medicaid prescriptions, but they also account for 81% of the Medicaid rebates. This is reasonable policy for us, then, to create parity between brand and generic rebates. This amendment would upset that parity."
Reference: Amendment for Medicaid rebates for generic drugs;
Bill S Amdt 2348 to S 1932
; vote number 2005-299
on Nov 3, 2005
Voted YES on negotiating bulk purchases for Medicare prescription drug.
Vote to adopt an amendment that would allow federal government negotiations with prescription drug manufactures for the best possible prescription drug prices. Amendment details: To ensure that any savings associated with legislation that provides the Secretary of Health and Human Services with the authority to participate in the negotiation of contracts with manufacturers of covered part D drugs to achieve the best possible prices for such drugs under Medicare Part D of the Social Security Act, that requires the Secretary to negotiate contracts with manufacturers of such drugs for each fallback prescription drug plan, and that requires the Secretary to participate in the negotiation for a contract for any such drug upon the request of a prescription drug plan or an MA-PD plan, is reserved for reducing expenditures under such part.
Reference: Prescription Drug Amendment;
Bill S.Amdt. 214 to S.Con.Res. 18
; vote number 2005-60
on Mar 17, 2005
Voted YES on allowing reimportation of Rx drugs from Canada.
S. 812, as amended; Greater Access to Affordable Pharmaceuticals Act of 2002. Vote to pass a bill that would permit a single 30-month stay against Food and Drug Administration approval of a generic drug patent when a brand-name company's patent is challenged. The secretary of Health and Human Services would be authorized to announce regulations allowing pharmacists and wholesalers to import prescription drugs from Canada into the United States. Canadian pharmacies and wholesalers that provide drugs for importation would be required to register with Health and Human Services. Individuals would be allowed to import prescription drugs from Canada. The medication would have to be for an individual use and a supply of less than 90-days.
; vote number 2002-201
on Jul 31, 2002
Voted YES on allowing patients to sue HMOs & collect punitive damages.
Vote to provide federal protections, such as access to specialty and emergency room care, and allow patients to sue health insurers in state and federal courts. Economic damages would not be capped, and punitive damages would be capped at $5 million.
; vote number 2001-220
on Jun 29, 2001
Voted NO on funding GOP version of Medicare prescription drug benefit.
Vote to pass an amendment that would make up to $300 billion available for a Medicare prescription drug benefit for 2002 through 2011. The money would come from the budget's contingency fund. The amendment would also require a Medicare overhaul.
Bill H Con Res 83
; vote number 2001-65
on Apr 3, 2001
Voted YES on including prescription drugs under Medicare.
Vote to establish a prescription drug benefit program through the Medicare health insurance program. Among other provisions, Medicare would contribute at least 50% of the cost of prescription drugs and beneficiaries would pay a $250 deductible
; vote number 2000-144
on Jun 22, 2000
Voted NO on limiting self-employment health deduction.
The Santorum (R-PA) amdt would effectively kill the Kennedy Amdt (D-MA) which would have allowed self-employed individuals to fully deduct the cost of their health insurance on their federal taxes.
Status: Amdt Agreed to Y)53; N)47
Reference: Santorum Amdt #1234;
Bill S. 1344
; vote number 1999-202
on Jul 13, 1999
Voted YES on increasing tobacco restrictions.
This cloture motion was on a bill which would have increased tobacco restrictions. [YES is an anti-smoking vote].
Status: Cloture Motion Rejected Y)57; N)42; NV)1
Reference: Motion to invoke cloture on a modified committee substitute to S. 1415;
Bill S. 1415
; vote number 1998-161
on Jun 17, 1998
Voted YES on Medicare means-testing.
Approval of means-based testing for Medicare insurance premiums.
Status: Motion to Table Agreed to Y)70; N)20
Reference: Motion to table the Kennedy Amdt #440;
Bill S. 947
; vote number 1997-113
on Jun 24, 1997
Voted YES on blocking medical savings acounts.
Vote to block a plan which would allow tax-deductible medical savings accounts.
Status: Amdt Agreed to Y)52; N)46; NV)2
Reference: Kassebaum Amdt #3677;
Bill S. 1028
; vote number 1996-72
on Apr 18, 1996
Establish "report cards" on HMO quality of care.
Kerry signed the manifesto, "A New Agenda for the New Decade":
Promote Universal Access and Quality in Health Care
That more than 40 million Americans lack health insurance is one of our societyís most glaring inequities. Lack of insurance jeopardizes the health of disadvantaged Americans and also imposes high costs on everyone else when the uninsured lack preventive care and get treatment from emergency rooms. Washington provides a tax subsidy for insurance for Americans who get coverage from their employers but offers nothing to workers who donít have job-based coverage.
Markets alone cannot assure universal access to health coverage. Government should enable all low-income families to buy health insurance. Individuals must take responsibility for insuring themselves and their families whether or not they qualify for public assistance.
Finally, to help promote higher quality in health care for all Americans, we need reliable information on the quality of health care delivered by health plans and providers; a ďpatientís bill of rightsĒ that ensures access to medically necessary care; and a system in which private health plans compete on the basis of quality as well as cost.
Goals for 2010
Source: The Hyde Park Declaration 00-DLC5 on Aug 1, 2000
- Reduce the number of uninsured Americans by two-thirds through tax credits, purchasing pools, and other means.
- Create a system of reliable ďreport cardsĒ on the quality of care delivered by health plans and providers.
Invest funds to alleviate the nursing shortage.
Kerry introduced the Nurse Reinvestment Act
Source: Bill sponsored by 39 Senators 01-S706 on Apr 5, 2001
- Amends Medicare to provide for nurse education training payments to qualified entities.
- Amends Medicaid to temporarily increase the matching rate for Medicaid nurse aide training and competency evaluation programs.
- Amends the Internal Revenue Code to provide for the exclusion from gross income of amounts received under the National Nursing Service Corps Scholarship Program.
- Amends the Public Health Service Act to: (1) develop and issue public service announcements that advertise and promote the nursing profession, highlight the advantages and rewards of nursing, and encourage individuals from diverse communities and backgrounds to enter the nursing profession; and (2) award grants to designated eligible educational entities in order to increase the number of nurses.
- Establishes a National Nurse Service Corps Scholarship program that provides scholarships to individuals seeking nursing education in exchange for service by such individuals in areas with nursing shortages. Authorizes appropriations.
Let states make bulk Rx purchases, and other innovations.
Kerry signed a letter from 30 Senators to the Secretary of HHS
To: The Honorable Tommy G. Thompson, Secretary, Department of Health & Human Services
Dear Secretary Thompson:
As you know, prescription drug costs have been surging at double-digit rates for the last six years. The average annual increase 1999 through 2003 was a massive 16%, seven times the rate of general inflation.
These increases fall hardest on senior citizens and the uninsured. Their health needs are often great, and their low incomes often make these products unaffordable. They have no ability to use their combined purchasing power to negotiate reasonable prices. Taxpayers pay tens of billions of dollars for the purchase of drugs by Medicaidóan expense that could be reduced significantly if states are permitted to negotiate for the best prices from drug manufacturers.
As you know, the Supreme Court has just ruled that Maine's innovative program to reduce prescription drug costs for the uninsured and senior citizens is not a violation of the Medicaid law.
As a result of this decision, Maine can use the combined buying power of Medicaid and individuals purchasing drugs on their own to negotiate lower prices with drug manufacturers. Twenty-nine other states supported the position taken by Maine, and there is broad interest in many states in initiating similar programs.
The Supreme Court's ruling, however, left open the possibility that if the Department of Health and Human Services makes a finding that the Maine program violates the Medicaid statute, the Department's action would be upheld by the Court. We urge you not to intervene to block Maine's program or similar statutes in other states that achieve savings for taxpayers, the elderly, and the uninsured. Such programs must be carefully implemented to assure that the poor are not denied access to needed drugs, but there is no justification for the federal government to deny states the ability to negotiate lower drug prices on behalf of their neediest citizens.
Source: Letter from 30 Senators to the Secretary of HHS 03-SEN6 on May 20, 2003
Increase funding to combat the global HIV/AIDS epidemic.
Kerry introduced the budget allocation for HIV/AIDS
S.AMDT.281 to S.CON.RES.23: To increase the budget allocation for programs to combat the global HIV/AIDS epidemic and to reduce the deficit.
Source: Amendment sponsored by 6 Senators 03-SR23 on Mar 26, 2003
Rated 100% by APHA, indicating a pro-public health record.
Kerry scores 100% by APHA on health issues
The American Public Health Association (APHA) is the oldest and largest organization of public health professionals in the world, representing more than 50,000 members from over 50 occupations of public health. APHA is concerned with a broad set of issues affecting personal and environmental health, including federal and state funding for health programs, pollution control, programs and policies related to chronic and infectious diseases, a smoke-free society, and professional education in public health.
The following ratings are based on the votes the organization considered most important; the numbers reflect the percentage of time the representative voted the organization's preferred position.
Source: APHA website 03n-APHA on Dec 31, 2003
Establish a national childhood cancer database.
Kerry 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: 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
- activities that provide information on treatment protocols to ensure early access to the best available therapies and clinical trials for pediatric cancers;
- 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
- 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.
Increase funding for occupational & physical therapy.
Kerry 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
Preserve access to Medicaid & SCHIP during economic downturn.
Kerry co-sponsored preserving access to Medicaid & SCHIP in economic downturn
A bill to preserve access to Medicaid and the State Children's Health Insurance Program during an economic downturn.
Source: Economic Recovery in Health Care Act (S.2819) 2008-S2819 on Apr 7, 2008
- Economic Recovery in Health Care Act of 2008 - Prohibits finalizing, implementing, enforcing, or otherwise taking any action, prior to April 1, 2009, on any changes to Medicaid programs or State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).
- Amends the U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans' Care, Katrina Recovery, and Iraq Accountability Appropriations Act of 2007 to extend through April 1, 2009, the moratorium relating to the cost limit for providers.
- Amends the Medicare, Medicaid, and SCHIP Extension Act of 2007 to extend through April 1, 2009, the moratorium relating to rehabilitation services, school-based administration, and school-based transportation.
- Provides for state fiscal relief through a temporary increase of Medicaid federal medical assistance percentage (FMAP).
Disclose payments from manufacturers to physicians.
Kerry signed Physician Payments Sunshine Act
An amendment to provide for transparency in the relationship between physicians and applicable manufacturers with respect to payments and other transfers of value and physician ownership or investment interests in manufacturers.
Source: S.301&HR.3138 2009-S301 on Jan 22, 2009
- Requires any manufacturer of a covered drug, device, biological, or medical supply that makes a payment or another transfer of value to a physician, a physician medical practice, or a physician group practice to report annually, in electronic form, specified information on such transactions to the Secretary of Health and Human Services.
Requires any such manufacturer, or related group purchasing organization, also to report annually to the Secretary, in electronic form, certain information regarding any ownership or investment interest (other than in a publicly traded security and mutual fund) held by a physician (or an immediate family member) in the manufacturer or group purchasing organization during the preceding year.
- Prescribes administrative penalties for failure to comply with these requirements.
- Requires report submission procedures to ensure public availability of required information on a website.
Expand the National Health Service Corps.
Kerry signed Access for All America Act
A bill to achieve access to comprehensive primary health care services for all Americans and to reform the organization of primary care delivery through an expansion of the Community Health Center and National Health Service Corps programs. Amends the Public Health Service Act to:
Source: S.486&HR1296 2009-S486 on Mar 4, 2009
- increase and extend the authorization of appropriations for community health centers and for the National Health Service Corps scholarship and loan repayment program for FY2010-FY2015, and provide for increased funding for such programs in FY2016 and each subsequent fiscal year; and
- revise and expand provisions allowing a community health center to provide services at different locations, adjust its operating plan and budget, enter into arrangements with other centers to purchase supplies and services at reduced cost, and correct material failures in grant compliance.
Collect data on birth defects and present to the public.
Kerry co-sponsored the Birth Defects Prevention Act
Directs the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to carry out programs to: Corresponding House bill is H.R.1114. Became Public Law No: 105-168.
Source: Bill sponsored by 35 Senators and 164 Reps 97-S419 on Mar 11, 1997
- collect and analyze, and make available data on the causes of birth defects and on the incidence and prevalence of such defects;
- operate regional centers for the conduct of applied epidemiological research on the prevention of such defects;
- provide information and education to the public on the prevention of such defects;
- collect and analyze data by gender and by racial and ethnic group9/6/2004
- collect such data from birth and death certificates, hospital records, and such other sources; and
- (3) encourage States to establish or improve programs for the collection and analysis of epidemiological data on birth defects and to make the data available.
Page last updated: Jan 03, 2015