John Kerry on Health Care

Jr Senator (MA), Democratic nominee for President

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 didn't allow contaminated medicine into our country. We're working with Canada to help us [get the] vaccines necessary. My call to our fellow Americans is if you're healthy, if you're younger, don't get a flu shot this year. Help us prioritize those who need to get the flu shot, the elderly and the young. I haven't gotten a flu shot, and I don't intend to because I want to make sure those who are most vulnerable get treated.

KERRY: This really underscores the problem with the American health-care system. It's not working for the American family. And it's 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

Bush has turned his back on the wellness of America

KERRY: Bush has turned his back on the wellness of America. And there is no system. In fact, it's starting to fall apart not because of lawsuits, though they are a problem and John Edwards and I are committed to fixing them, but because of the larger issue that we don't cover Americans. Children across our country don't have health care. We're the richest country on the face of the planet, the only industrialized nation in the world not to do it. I have a plan to cover all Americans. We're going to make it affordable and accessible, and let everybody buy into the same health care plan senators and congressmen give themselves.

BUSH: A plan is not a litany of complaints and not to lay out programs that you can't pay for. The same plan that senators and congressmen get costs the government $7,700 per family. If every family in America signed up like the senator suggested it would cost us $5 trillion over 10 years. It's an empty promise. It's called bait and switch.

Source: Third Bush-Kerry Debate, in Tempe Arizona Oct 13, 2004

Bush blocked drugs importation and Medicare bulk purchasing

Health-care costs are getting higher. One of the principal reasons is that the Bush administration has stood in the way of common-sense efforts that would have reduced the costs. In the Senate we passed the right of Americans to import drugs from Canada. But Bush and his friends took it out in the House, and now you don't have that right. Bush blocked you from the right to have less expensive drugs from Canada. We also wanted Medicare to be able to negotiate bulk purchasing. We could have done that in Medicare. Medicare is paid for by the American taxpayer. Medicare is for seniors, who many of them are on fixed income, to lift them out of poverty. But rather than help you, the taxpayer, have lower cost, rather than help seniors have less expensive drugs, Bush made it illegal- illegal! -for Medicare to actually go out and bargain for lower prices. Result: $139 billion windfall profit to the drug companies coming out of your pockets. That's a large part of your 17% increase in Medicare premiums.
Source: Third Bush-Kerry debate, in Tempe AZ Oct 13, 2004

Kerry's healthcare plan lets people choose their plan

Q: Where are you going to get the money to extend health-care coverage to children?

A: Two leading national news networks have both said Bush's characterization of my health-care plan is incorrect. One called it fiction. The other called it untrue. The fact is that my health-care plan, America, is very simple. It gives you the choice. I don't force you to do anything. It's not a government plan. The government doesn't require you to do anything. You choose your doctor. You choose your plan. If you don't want to take the offer of the plan that I want to put forward, you don't have do. You can keep what you have today, keep a high deductible, keep high premiums, keep a high co-pay, keep low benefits. Here's what I do: We take over Medicaid children from the states so that every child in America is covered. And in exchange, if the states want to-they're not forced to, they can choose to-they cover individuals up to 300 percent of poverty. It's their choice.

Source: Third Bush-Kerry debate, in Tempe AZ Oct 13, 2004

Passed 56 individual bills that I've 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 he's 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. I've actually passed 56 individual bills that I've 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 I'm very proud of that. So Bush's wrong.

Source: [Xref Bush[ Third Bush-Kerry debate, in Tempe AZ Oct 13, 2004

Bush hasn't fully funded the VA hospitals and Medicare

KERRY: Bush said government-run health care results in poor quality. Maybe that explains why he hasn't fully funded the VA and the VA hospital is having trouble and veterans are complaining. Maybe that explains why Medicare patients are complaining about being pushed off of Medicare. He doesn't adequately fund it. I am not proposing a government-run program. That's not what I have. I have Blue Cross/Blue Shield. Senators and congressmen have a wide choice. Americans ought to have it too.

BUSH: Talk about the VA: We've increased VA funding by $22 billion in the four years since I've been president. That's twice the amount that my predecessor increased VA funding. Of course we're meeting our obligation to our veterans, and the veterans know that. We're expanding veterans' health care throughout the country. We're aligning facilities where the veterans live now. Veterans are getting very good health care under my administration, and they will continue to do so during the next four years.

Source: Third Bush-Kerry debate, in Tempe AZ Oct 13, 2004

FactCheck: Bush's plan yields $13B for big pharma, not $139B

KERRY: Bush's Medicare prescription drug benefit put $139 billion of windfall profit into the pockets of the drug companies right out of your pockets.

Kerry bases his claim on one disputed study by two Bush critics, Boston University researchers Alan Sager and Deborah Socolar, who concluded that 35% of the $400 billion cost that was projected at the time-or $139 billion-would be "windfall profits" to drug companies. Their findings are contradicted by a study in March 2004 commissioned by the Pacific Research Institute, which describes itself as a "free-market think tank." They estimated drug company profits much lower-from an increase of 3.2% ($13 billion) to a possible decline of 1%. The two studies make starkly different assumptions about whether the new drug benefit will cause seniors to buy a lot more medication thereby increasing sales, and also about the extent to which competition among different drug plans will force drug companies to offer rebates and discounts to get the business.

Source: Analysis of second Bush-Kerry debate by FactCheck.org Oct 10, 2004

Bush said in 2000 that re-importation from Canada was OK

Four years ago, right here in this forum, Bush was asked the same question: Can't people be able to import drugs from Canada? Do you know what he said? I think that makes sense; I think that's a good idea. Now he said I'm not blocking that. Bush just didn't level with you right now again. He did block it because we passed it in the US Senate, we sent it over to the House, that you could import drugs. We took care of the safety issues. We're not talking about third-world drugs, we're talking about drugs made right here in the US that have American brand names on them in American bottles, and we're asking that he be able to allow you to get them. Bush blocked it. He also took Medicare, which belongs to you, and he could have lowered the cost of Medicare and lowered your taxes and lowered the cost to seniors. He made it illegal, illegal for Medicare to do what the VA does, which is bulk-purchase drugs so that you can lower the price and get them out to you lower.
Source: Second Bush-Kerry Debate, in St. Louis MO Oct 8, 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, it's a problem. Do we need to fix it, particularly for OB-GYNs and for brain surgeons and others? Yes. But it's less than 1% of the total cost of health care. Your premiums are going up. You've seen copays go up, deductibles go up. Everything's gone up. Five-million people have lost their health insurance under Bush, and he's 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 that's 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 he's going to have a novel health care plan. The federal government's going to run it. It is the largest increase in federal government health care ever. That's what liberals do. They create government-sponsored health care. Maybe you think that makes sense. I don't. Government-sponsored health care would lead to rationing. It would ruin the quality of health care in America.

KERRY: 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 doesn't ask you to do anything. If you don't want to take it, you don't have to. If you like your high premiums, you keep 'em. That's the way we leave it.

Source: [Xref Bush] Second Bush-Kerry Debate, in St. Louis MO Oct 8, 2004

Bush chose a tax cut over health care

KERRY: He put $139 billion of windfall profit into the pockets of the drug companies right out of your pockets. That's the difference between us. Bush sides with the power companies, the oil companies, the drug companies; and I'm fighting to let you get those drugs from Canada and I'm fighting to let Medicare survive. I'm fighting for the middle class.

BUSH: If they're safe, they're coming. I want to remind you that it wasn't just my administration that made the decision on safety. Clinton did the sam thing because we have an obligation to protect you. Kerry's been in the US Senate 20 years. Show me one accomplishment toward Medicare that he accomplished. I've been in Washington 3-1/2 years and led the Congress to reform Medicare so our seniors have got a modern health care system.

KERRY: In 1997 we fixed Medicare, and I was one of the people involved in it. We not only fixed Medicare and took it way out into the future; we did something that you don't know how to do, we balanced the budget.

Source: Second Bush-Kerry Debate, in St. Louis MO Oct 8, 2004

Bush has no plan to address the health care crisis

Rising health care costs have forced businesses to slow hiring and shift jobs to part-time and temporary workers, many of whom lack health insurance. Yet Bush has no plan to address any of these challenges. The few proposals he has offered would actually make the health care crisis worse by further dividing the system between one that is affordable for the healthy and wealthy, and one that is unaffordable for the elderly, the sick, and increasingly, for America's broad middle class.
Source: Our Plan For America, p. 99 Aug 10, 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 it's not the story of senators and members of Congress. Because we give ourselves great health care and you get the bill. Your family's health care is just as important as any politician's in Washington DC. When I'm 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 don't cut the benefits to people that you've promised. You can do things to guarantee that you keep Medicare solvent, as we've 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, "DAY 1" Jan 25, 2004

Don't push seniors into HMOs; change Bush Rx plan

Q: How, if at all, would you change the new prescription drug benefit for the elderly?

A: I will change the benefit so that it: rewards employers who are offering retiree health benefits rather than undermining them; does not push seniors into HMOs; includes real cost containment and improves protections for low-income Americans.

Source: Associated Press policy Q&A, "Medicare" Jan 25, 2004

Simultaneously address costs, coverage, and choice

My plan builds on and strengthens the current public/private system of health care and at the same time simplifies it. I definitely don't 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

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

Tax cut of $550 billion would cut Medicare

They don't want to defend their tax cut of $550 billion, and they don't want to tell people the truth about what will happen to Medicare, which D'Amato said would be cut if their tax cut passes. That's why he wants to talk about everything else in this race, because he can't defend going to Washington, helping the rich and the wealthy and the corporations over the working people of this country.
Source: KERRY/WELD: HOME STRETCH, PBS.org Oct 25, 1996

John Kerry on Health Insurance

FactCheck: Kerry's plan covers 95% of Americans, not 100%

KERRY: "I have a plan to cover all Americans" for health care.

FACT CHECK: Actually, his plan wouldn't 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.org) Oct 14, 2004

Health care plan is not an empty promise and provide choice

My health care plan's not an empty promise. Bush used that very plan as a reason for seniors to accept his prescription drug plan. He said, if it's 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 we're going to help Americans be able to buy into it. Those that can afford it are going to buy in themselves. We're 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 don't 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 it's good enough for us, it's 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, we're 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 they're 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 I'm going to offer it to America.
Source: Third Bush-Kerry debate, in Tempe AZ Oct 13, 2004

FactCheck: Kerry's plan covers 92%, not 100% of Americans

FACT CHECK: Kerry closed by saying "I have a plan to provide health care to all Americans." He doesn't. His plan would extend coverage to between 24 and 27 million Americans who don't have it now, depending on which estimate one chooses. But none of the estimates predict "all" would be insured. A study by the independent Lewin Group, for example, projects that 92% would have coverage, up from just under 86% in 2003.
Source: Analysis of second Bush-Kerry debate by FactCheck.org Oct 10, 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 America's 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. You'll 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 Bush's 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

Source: A Call to Service, by John Kerry, p.142-3 Oct 1, 2003

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 you've 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 don't have it? That's an ethical issue.
Source: Kerry/Weld: A Classic Senate Race In Massachusetts, CNN.com Oct 29, 1996

Created catastrophic health insurance and withdrew it

What we did was create catastrophic health insurance and what we did was pay for prescriptions for seniors who can't pay for them. Then we found that the formula didn't work as was anticipated and we withdrew it.
Source: Kerry/Weld Search For Votes, CNN.com Jul 3, 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: "Does it reduce cost?"
Source: Complete Biography By The Boston Globe, p.287-8 Apr 27, 2004

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

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 society’s 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 don’t 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 “patient’s bill of rights” 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.

Source: The Hyde Park Declaration 00-DLC5 on Aug 1, 2000

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

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 Medicaid—an 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

Collect data on birth defects and present to the public.

Kerry sponsored the Birth Defects Prevention Act

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

Other candidates on Health Care: John Kerry 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
Govt. Reform
Gun Control
Health Care
Homeland Security
Social Security
Tax Reform
Adv: Avi Green for State Rep Middlesex 26, Somerville & Cambridge Massachusetts