Beto O`Rourke on Health Care

Democratic candidate for President; Texas Senator nominee


Distribute PrEP to everyone, at reduced cost

We have absolutely failed our fellow Americans in making sure that we prevent the spread of HIV in America. Though we know that Truvada, the brand name for PrEP, has up to a 99% effectiveness rate in stopping the spread of HIV for those who are taking it, of the 1.3 million of our fellow Americans who are at risk today, less than 10% are regularly taking Truvada. And though you and I, as the U.S. taxpayer, invested in the research and development, the clinical trials, the purchase of those Medications [costs] up to $2,000 per month for one person, which helps to explain why we have absolutely failed in making sure everyone gets that care. Forty thousand new cases of HIV just last year in 2018. We can do something about this. And as president I will. We will bring down that cost. If Gilead fails to honor their commitment to the taxpayer, to our fellow Americans, we will take over that patent and we will make sure that PrEP is distributed to every person in America who needs that.
Source: CNN LGBT Town Hall , Oct 10, 2019

People can choose Medicare or not

I think we're being offered a false choice between those who propose an all-or-nothing gambit, forcing tens of millions off of insurance that they like. My proposal, Medicare for America, says everyone who's uninsured will be enrolled in Medicare. Everyone who's insufficiently insured, cannot afford it, can move over to Medicare.
Source: September Democratic Primary debate in Houston , Sep 12, 2019

Public option vs. Medicare for all a false choice

Q: Should the middle class pay higher taxes in exchange for universal coverage?

O`ROURKE: The answer is no. The middle class will not pay more in taxes in order to ensure that every American is guaranteed world-class health care. I think we're being offered a false choice, some who want to improve the Affordable Care Act at the margins, others who want a Medicare for All program that will force people off of private insurance, I have a better path. Medicare for America. Everyone who is uninsured is enrolled in Medicare tomorrow.

Q: Who's offering a false choice?

Beto O`ROURKE: Governor Bullock, who's said that we will improve the Affordable Care Act at the margins with a public option.

BULLOCK: Congressman, not at all. It took us decades and false starts to get the Affordable Care Act. Let's actually build on it. A public option, allowing anyone to buy in.

O`ROURKE: Every estimate that I've seen of expanding ACA even through a public option still leaves millions of people uninsured.

Source: July Democratic Primary debate (first night in Detroit) , Jul 30, 2019

Biggest provider of mental healthcare in Texas are the jails

Q: When you ran for Senate, you praised a bill that would replace private insurance. This year, you're saying you're no longer sure?

O'ROURKE: My goal is to ensure that every American is well enough to live to their full potential because they have health care. Getting to guaranteed, high-quality, universal health care as quickly and surely as possible has to be our goal. The ability to afford your prescriptions and go to a primary care provider; the ability to see a mental health care provider. In Texas, the single largest provider of mental health care services is the county jail system today. And health care also has to mean that every woman can make her own decisions about her own body and has access to the care that makes that possible. Our plan says that if you're uninsured, we enroll you in Medicare. If you're insufficiently insured, you can't afford your premiums, we enroll you in Medicare. But if your health care plan works for you and your family, you're able to keep it.

Source: June Democratic Primary debate (first night in Miami) , Jun 26, 2019

Expand health care benefits and support for veterans

O`Rourke was the lead sponsor of a measure that expanded mental health care for veterans with "other-than-honorable" discharge. He successfully pushed for a measure that requires mental health examinations for those leaving military service. O'Rourke's plan includes requiring the public reporting and display of staffing rations and wait times, expanding telehealth offerings, pushing for an industry-wide standardization of electronic health care data, and mandating a new focus on mental health, addiction treatment and suicide prevention. O`Rourke is also calling for National Institutes of Health spending on Alzheimer's research to double to $5 billion per year "to confront risks stemming from" military service.
Source: CNN coverage of 2020 Democratic primary , Jun 24, 2019

Universal coverage, not Medicare-for-All

O'Rourke supports universal health care but did not mention Medicare for All on his senatorial campaign website, despite backing such a program in 2017.
Source: Axios.com "What you need to know about 2020" , Apr 29, 2019

Supports Medicare for America as public option

O'Rourke is touting a proposal called Medicare for America, a public option bill that would enroll some Americans in a public plan while preserving private insurance for those who receive it from their employers. Rather than covering everyone equally under a single program, it will maintain varying qualities of coverage with price tags based on income. It includes premiums of up to 10 percent of a person's annual income and out-of-pocket maximums of $5,000.
Source: Jacobin Mag., "Medicare for All," on 2020 Democratic primary , Mar 22, 2019

Protect existing priorities, then expand Medicare & Medicaid

Beto O`Rourke said, "The goal has to be that every single one of us can see a doctor, take our child to a therapist, afford our prescriptions to be well enough to live to our full potential," speaking in a Radio Iowa interview. O'Rourke rattled off four key priorities:
  1. "The quickest way to get there in my mind is to ensure that we protect the safeguards that we already have."
  2. "Expansion of Medicaid in those states that haven't done it."
  3. "Allow people to buy in to Medicare who are not already covered by employer insurance."
  4. "Ensure that there is an effective guarantee, so that even if you have insurance but are unable to afford the co-pay, that we guarantee you that you are going to get the care, or the medication that you need."
Source: Forbes Magazine, "Medicare," on 2020 Democratic primary , Mar 17, 2019

Medicare-X: government-run public option

Source: PBS News hour on 2020 Presidential hopefuls , Mar 14, 2019

Eventually make "health care for all" a reality

Pressed on his national-policy positions, O'Rourke says he wants to shore up the Affordable Care Act and make Medicare part of the health-care marketplace, and eventually make "health care for all" a reality.

As if to rebut the inevitable accusations that he's a socialist, he proclaims himself a proud capitalist--among the few Democratic candidates, he points out, who have been small-business owners. "The ingenuity and innovation that you only find in America and in capitalist systems, the ability to harness the power of the market," he says, "it's hard to argue against pricing carbon and allowing the market to respond to that."

Source: Joe Hagan in Vanity Fair on 2020 Democratic primary , Mar 13, 2019

Open to different ways to get to universal health care

We could expand Medicaid. We could introduce Medicare as an option on the exchanges. Concerned about rising premium costs? Let's control them with some downward pressure by introducing Medicare as an option, lower price, expand selection and choice. There are many roads that will get us there. It may not happen all at once. It may take us some time. We can't allow the perfect to become the enemy of the good.
Source: CNN Town Hall: 2020 presidential hopefuls , Oct 18, 2018

Improve ObamaCare, including public option

Q: Support or Repeal Affordable Care Act (ACA), known as ObamaCare?

Ted Cruz (R): Absolutely repeal. Caused millions to lose their jobs, be forced into part-time work, lose health insurance & doctors & pay skyrocketing premiums.

Beto O'Rourke (D): Keep but improve, including public option. Repeal would reduce healthcare access & benefits, make health insurance less affordable.

Source: 2018 CampusElect.org Issue Guide on Texas Senate race , Oct 9, 2018

ObamaCare addresses some problems, but needs El Paso focus

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) seeks to address some important problems when it comes to accessing healthcare in this country. It will provide protection for those with preexisting conditions; it will remove lifetime caps; it will extend coverage for children and young adults up to age 26; and it will attempt to provide for health coverage for everyone in the country.

While these are important issues to address, the act fails to address problems that are specific to El Paso and the border. As your congressman I will work to make sure that future legislation that carries out the provisions of the PPACA will help, and not hurt, El Paso.

Source: 2012 House campaign website, betoforcongress.com, "Issues" , Nov 6, 2012

Opposes repealing ObamaCare.

O`Rourke opposes the PVS survey question on ObamaCare

Project Vote Smart infers candidate issue stances on key topics by summarizing public speeches and public statements. Congressional candidates are given the opportunity to respond in detail; about 11% did so in the 2012 races.

Project Vote Smart summarizes candidate stances on the following topic: 'Health Care: Do you support repealing the 2010 Affordable Care Act?'

Source: Project Vote Smart 12-PVS-q5 on Aug 30, 2012

GOP can't beat ObamaCare, so they pretend it's a "disaster".

O`Rourke voted NAY Full Repeal of ObamaCare

Heritage Action Summary: This vote would fully repeal ObamaCare.

Heritage Foundation recommendation to vote YES: (2/3/2015): ObamaCare creates $1.8 trillion in new health care spending and uses cuts to Medicare spending to help pay for some of it. Millions of Americans already have lost, and more likely will lose, their coverage because of ObamaCare. Many Americans have not been able to keep their doctors as insurers try to offset the added costs of ObamaCare by limiting the number of providers in their networks. In spite of the promise, the law increases the cost of health coverage.

Secretary of Labor Robert Reich recommendation to vote NO: (robertreich.org 11/22/2013): Having failed to defeat the Affordable Care Act, Republicans are now hell-bent on destroying the ObamaCare in Americans' minds, using the word "disaster" whenever mentioning the Act, and demand its repeal. Democrats [should] meet the Republican barrage with three larger truths:

  1. The wreck of private insurance: Ours has been the only healthcare system in the world designed to avoid sick people. For-profit insurers have spent billions finding and marketing their policies to healthy people--while rejecting people with preexisting conditions, or at high risk.
  2. We could not continue with this travesty of a healthcare system: ObamaCare is a modest solution. It still relies on private insurers--merely setting minimum standards and "exchanges" where customers can compare policies.
  3. The moral imperative: Even a clunky compromise like the ACA between a national system of health insurance and a for-profit insurance market depends, fundamentally, on a social compact in which those who are healthier and richer are willing to help those who are sicker and poorer. Such a social compact defines a society.

Legislative outcome: Passed House 239-186-8; never came to a vote in the Senate.

Source: Supreme Court case 15-H0132 argued on Feb 3, 2015

Keep healthcare mandate, according to CC survey.

O`Rourke opposes the CC survey question on healthcare mandate

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

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

Other candidates on Health Care: Beto O`Rourke on other issues:
2020 Presidential Democratic Primary Candidates:
Sen.Michael Bennet (D-CO)
V.P.Joe Biden (D-DE)
Mayor Mike Bloomberg (I-NYC)
Gov.Steve Bullock (D-MT)
Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D-IN)
Sen.Cory Booker (D-NJ)
Secy.Julian Castro (D-TX)
Rep.John Delaney (D-MD)
Rep.Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI)
Sen.Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
Mayor Wayne Messam (D-FL)
Gov.Deval Patrick (D-MA)
Sen.Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
CEO Tom Steyer (D-CA)
Sen.Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
Marianne Williamson (D-CA)
CEO Andrew Yang (D-NY)

2020 GOP and Independent Candidates:
Rep.Justin Amash (Libertarian-MI)
CEO Don Blankenship (C-WV)
Howie Hawkins (Green-NY)
Gov.Larry Hogan (R-MD)
Gov.John Kasich (R-OH)
V.P.Mike Pence (R-IN)
Gov.Mark Sanford (R-SC)
CEO Howard Schultz (I-WA)
Pres.Donald Trump (R-NY)
Gov.Jesse Ventura (I-MN)
V.C.Arvin Vohra (Libertarian-MD)
Rep.Joe Walsh (R-IL)
Gov.Bill Weld (L-NY,R-MA)
Civil Rights
Foreign Policy
Free Trade
Govt. Reform
Gun Control
Health Care
Homeland Security
Social Security
Tax Reform

External Links about Beto O`Rourke:

2020 Withdrawn Democratic Candidates:
State Rep.Stacey Abrams (D-GA)
Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-NYC)
Sen.Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
Sen.Mike Gravel (D-AK)
Sen.Kamala Harris (D-CA)
Gov.John Hickenlooper (D-CO)
Gov.Jay Inslee (D-WA)
Rep.Seth Moulton (D-MA)
Rep.Beto O`Rourke (D-TX)
Rep.Tim Ryan (D-CA)
Adm.Joe Sestak (D-PA)
Rep.Eric Swalwell (D-CA)

Page last updated: Dec 15, 2019