Bob Graham on Health Care

FL Sr Senator (retiring 2004); Democratic Primary Candidate for President

Open pharmaceutical competition with generics & re-imports

We need to open up competition in the pharmaceutical area through things like making it easier to get generic drugs to market, a reasonable reimportation plan. We need to also have a plan that will assure that access to life-saving drugs are available to all Americans. And we can do that, among other things, by relieving the states from some of the pressure of prescription drugs for their older citizens, rather than the Republican plan, which is to stick it to the states first.
Source: Debate at Pace University in Lower Manhattan Sep 25, 2003

Step-by-step common sense will reduce uninsured

Q: At a time of record federal government deficits, how can this country bring the number of uninsured down?

GRAHAM: We can do it by practicing pragmatic common sense. Two very smart people, Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton, 10 years ago tried to pass a comprehensive health-care reform. They were unable to do so. The lesson is that if we are going to get health care to those currently uninsured, we need to set the goal of all Americans having access to health care and then proceed in a step-by-step basis.

I would personally advocate that we provide first for children, then for the working poor, and third for the early retiree. If we did those three groups, we would cut by two-thirds the number of Americans who do not have health coverage. And we could do that at a cost of approximately $70 billion a year, a cost that I think is one the American people can afford and would support.

Source: Democratic Primary Debate, Albuquerque New Mexico Sep 4, 2003

Rx drug benefit without herding people into HMOs

As president, I will provide health security. I will assure that Medicare is reformed with the first reform being the provision of a prescription-drug benefit. And we won't herd all Americans into an HMO to get it.

I will do everything in my power to move us on a step-by-step basis towards full health coverage for all Americans and with costs that they can afford.

Source: AFSCME union debate in Iowa May 17, 2003

2-year temporary increase in federal share of Medicaid

GEPHARDT [to Graham]: Most states are in horrible deficits. Many are laying off teachers, and [cutting] Medicaid. My health care plan sends a $172 billion over three years to the states for health care for their employees, [including] $2.5 billion for South Carolina. What plan would you bring forward to help the states through these tough times they're in now?

GRAHAM: You're absolutely right that this is a very difficult time for states. What we ought to do [first] is recognize that a substantial amount of the problems that the states are experiencing is because of actions that we have taken at the federal level. Such as, not funding Homeland Security, not funding the No Child Left Behind legislation. What I would do is for a two-year period increase the federal share of Medicaid, so that we could give relief to the states in one of the fastest growing areas of their budget.

Source: [X-ref from Gephardt] Democratic Debate in Columbia SC May 3, 2003

Voted NO on $40 billion per year for limited Medicare prescription drug benefit.

S. 1 As Amended; Prescription Drug and Medicare Improvement Act of 2003. Vote to pass a bill that would authorize $400 billion over 10 years to create a prescription drug benefit for Medicare recipients beginning in 2006. Seniors would be allowed to remain within the traditional fee-for-service program or seniors would have the option to switch to a Medicare Advantage program that includes prescription drug coverage. Private insurers would provide prescription drug coverage. Private Insurers would engage in competitive bidding to be awarded two-year regional contracts by the Center for Medicare Choices under the Department of Health and Human Services.Enrolled seniors would pay a $275 deductible and an average monthly premium of $35. Annual drug costs beyond the deductible and up to $4,500 would be divided equally between the beneficiary and the insurer. Beneficiaries with incomes below 160 percent of the poverty level would be eligible for added assistance.
Reference: Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit bill; Bill S.1/H.R.1 ; vote number 2003-262 on Jun 26, 2003

Voted YES on allowing importation 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.
Bill S.812 ; 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.
Bill S1052 ; 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
Bill HR.4690 ; 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 NO on banning human cloning.

This cloture motion was in order to end debate and move to consideration of legislation banning human cloning. [A YES vote opposes human cloning].
Status: Cloture Motion Rejected Y)42; N)54; NV)4
Reference: Motion to invoke cloture on motion to proceed to S. 1601; Bill S. 1601 ; vote number 1998-10 on Feb 11, 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 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

Invest funds to alleviate the nursing shortage.

Graham sponsored the Nurse Reinvestment Act

Source: Bill sponsored by 39 Senators 01-S706 on Apr 5, 2001

Rated 100% by APHA, indicating a pro-public health record.

Graham 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

Other candidates on Health Care: Bob Graham on other issues:
George W. Bush
Dick Cheney
John Edwards
John Kerry

Third Party Candidates:
Michael Baradnik
Peter Camejo
David Cobb
Ralph Nader
Michael Peroutka

Democratic Primaries:
Carol Moseley Braun
Wesley Clark
Howard Dean
Dick Gephardt
Bob Graham
Dennis Kucinich
Joe Lieberman
Al Sharpton
Civil Rights
Foreign Policy
Free Trade
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Health Care
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Adv: Avi Green for State Rep Middlesex 26, Somerville & Cambridge Massachusetts