Mike Bloomberg on Health Care

Mayor of New York City (Independent)


CDC needs funding to fight coronavirus; Trump de-funded it

Q: Do you have confidence in this administration to handle a potential coronavirus pandemic?

BLOOMBERG: No. Number one, he fired the pandemic team two years ago. Number two, he's been defunding Centers for Disease Control. So, we don't have the experts in place that we need. I hope he's right that the virus doesn't come here, that nobody gets sick. But the bottom line is, we are not ready for this kind of thing. And the president doesn't seem to believe in science. We are as exposed to this kind of thing as we have ever been, probably more so.

Q: What would you do if you were president right now?

BLOOMBERG: You have to marshal the teams. Unfortunately, he doesn't have a team in place. I can tell you what we did in City Hall back in New York. For Hurricane Sandy, for 9/11, for the swine flu--we were ready for it, in the sense that we had played out what would happen, how we would communicate with people, how we would distribute drugs, how we would include the hospitals & the nurses.

Source: CNN S. C. Town Hall for 2020 Presidential primary , Feb 26, 2020

Insurance plans should cover mental health; my companies do

Q: What more can be done to address mental health?

BLOOMBERG: Well, we have a mental health problem in the country, in that an awful lot of insurance plans don't cover mental health. And they should. I can't speak for everybody [but] in my company, we have 20,000 employees, and there's different health care plans around the world. But, in America, we certainly provide mental health assistance.

Q: Second Amendment rights advocates are afraid, obviously, that you will take away their guns, claiming that mental health is the real issue.

BLOOMBERG: It's true that, if you take a gun and shoot somebody, you probably needed mental health counseling or something. It's not a normal thing to do.

Source: CNN S. C. Town Hall for 2020 Presidential primary , Feb 26, 2020

2011: We're going to cut back Medicaid and Medicare

In January 2011, Bloomberg argued we'd have to do something about Medicare and Medicaid.

"When you listen to them talk at a federal level, 'I'm going to cut the deficit.' You know, every new group that comes through--keep in mind 2/3 of the federal budget is entitlements and debt service. Debt Service legally, you can't touch, entitlements means seniors. We're going to cut back Medicaid and Medicare, we're going to have to do something, but that's going to be a very tough lift," Bloomberg said.

Source: CNN K-File FactCheck on 2020 presidential hopefuls , Feb 26, 2020

NYC life expectancy grew 3 years during my 12 years as mayor

Q: As mayor of New York, you declared war on obesity, you banned trans-fats from restaurants and you tried to do the same thing with large sugary drinks. So if you become president, will you push those policies on the national level as well?

BLOOMBERG: I think what's right for New York City isn't necessarily right for all the other cities. But I do think it's the government's job to explain to people what science says on how to extend their lives. There are too many people that are obese. We should do something about that. But just a look what happened with smoking. We did ban smoking in NYC in public places, restaurants, offices, and that sort of thing. And it has spread across America, across Europe, across Latin America.

Q: Are New Yorkers living longer because of your policies?

BLOOMBERG: Before I left, life expectancy in New York City had grown by three years during our 12 years in office such that, when I left, it was three years greater than the national average.

Source: 10th Democratic Primary debate on eve of S.C. primary , Feb 25, 2020

I am a fan of ObamaCare; I've praised it; let's expand it

Q: Is Vice President Biden right, you weren't a fan of ObamaCare?

BLOOMBERG: I am a fan of ObamaCare.

BIDEN: Since when, Mr. Mayor?

BLOOMBERG: I just checked the record, because you'd said one time that I was not. In '09, I testified and gave a speech before the mayors' conference in Washington advocating it and trying to get all the mayors to sign on. And at that time I wrote an article praising ObamaCare.

BIDEN: Didn't you call it "a disgrace," though, Mr. Mayor?

BLOOMBERG: I was in favor of it. I thought it didn't go as far as we should. What Trump has done to this is a disgrace. The first thing we've got to do is get the White House and bring back those things that were left and then find a way to expand it, another public option, to having some rules about capping charges. All of those things. We shouldn't just walk away and start something that is totally new & untried.

BIDEN: The mayor said, when we passed it, "it's a disgrace." They're the exact words. Look it up.

Source: MSNBC's 9th Democrat primary debate, in Las Vegas , Feb 19, 2020

Cannot take away employer insurance from 160 million people

I don't think there's any chance of the senator beating President Trump. You don't start out by saying I've got 160 million people I'm going to take away the insurance plan that they love.
Source: 9th Democrat 2020 primary debate, in Las Vegas Nevada , Feb 19, 2020

Change patent laws to get generic drugs on the market faster

Negotiation is one of the best ways to keep drug prices down. Mike will work with Congress to give Medicare the power to negotiate on behalf of the 43 million Americans who participate in the Medicare (Part D) drug insurance program. Private insurance companies will be able to use the government-negotiated price. Mike will cap Medicare beneficiaries' out-of-pocket spending on drugs at $2,000 per year to protect Americans from overwhelming drug bills.

Mike will limit each new drug to a single patent lasting 20 years. This will speed up the time it takes for cheaper generic drugs to come on the market. The federal government makes enormous investments in drug research. Mike will make sure drug companies pay royalties to the government on any new drug that's developed via federally-funded research. This revenue could be used to lower drug prices in Medicare (Part D) or fund new research.

Source: 2020 Presidential campaign website MikeBloomberg.com , Jan 20, 2020

Protect & expand access to care in rural areas

Mike will change rural hospital payment models so that they receive a fixed, capitated annual budget. Mike will double federal funding for Community Health Centers and increase funding for the National Health Service Corps, which offers loan repayment and scholarship opportunities for doctors who practice in high-need areas. Mike will also expand broadband access to rural areas and boost Medicare coverage of telemedicine services.

Mike will create a Medicare-like public option--a health plan that will be administered by the federal government but paid for by customer premiums. He will improve consumer choice and increase competition in the private insurance market, pushing down premiums for all. His plan will allow people of modest means who buy the public option to be eligible for the same subsidies that would apply on the health insurance exchanges.

Source: 2020 Presidential campaign website MikeBloomberg.com , Jan 20, 2020

Ban flavored tobacco products of all kinds

Mike knows that kids are most attracted to flavored tobacco products, and he'll immediately work to ban all flavored e-cigarettes. He'll also ban menthol-flavored cigars and conventional cigarettes. Mike will discourage tobacco use by raising taxes on all tobacco products so that they are in line with those imposed on conventional cigarettes--and discourage people from starting in the first place.
Source: 2020 Presidential campaign website MikeBloomberg.com , Jan 20, 2020

Require insurance coverage for mental health care

Mike believes health care is a right, and that includes mental health care. That's why he will make sure federal laws mandating insurance coverage for mental health and substance use disorders are enforced--so no American struggles to afford the care they need.
Source: 2020 Presidential campaign website MikeBloomberg.com , Jan 20, 2020

Expand ObamaCare & Medicare

According to Bloomberg's campaign website, he "believes every American should have access to affordable medical care and expanding ObamaCare and Medicare is the best way to achieve universal coverage." That approach would likely put him closer to Biden, who has said he would like to reform and improve the Affordable Care Act he helped pass as vice president, rather than scrap it.
Source: CNBC's coverage of on 2019 Democratic primary , Nov 24, 2019

We can never afford to replace employer-based health system

Some of the most popular issues among Democratic candidates--tuition free college, Medicare for all and a wealth tax--were among the proposals Bloomberg deemed unrealistic, too expensive and even unconstitutional.

The billionaire slammed a Medicare-for-All proposal floated by 2020 candidate Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), saying the country could "never afford" replacing the employer-offered health care system in its entirety.

The Republican-turned-independent-turned-Democrat supports Medicare for those without health insurance, but he does not want to do away with the employer-provided model.

Bloomberg said, "I'm a little bit tired of listening to things are pie in the sky, that we never are going to pass, are never going to afford. I think it's just disingenuous to promote those things. You've got to do something that's practical."

Source: Stephanie Murray on Politico.com on 2020 Democratic primary , Jan 29, 2019

Individual mandate makes insurance affordable for all

By eliminating the requirement that individuals buy health insurance, many young and healthy people will drop out of the marketplace, causing health insurance premiums to rise for everyone else. [The elimination of the individual mandate passed by Congressional Republicans in December 2017] is nothing more than a backdoor tax increase on health care for millions of middle-class families that will leave them with less disposable income for savings, investment and spending.
Source: OpEd by Michael Bloomberg in Bloomberg News , Dec 15, 2017

Obesity kills more people than smoking; limit portion size

Q: On people who oppose your effort in the name of public health to limit portion size when it comes to sugary drinks: A judge has ruled against you, saying the law doesn't make sense, at the moment. How far will you take this push to limit how much soda you can drink in New York City?

BLOOMBERG: We're certainly appealing. We think the judge was just clearly wrong on this. Our department of health has the legal ability to do this. And we're not banning anything. All we're saying is, we want to show you just how big the cup is. If you want 32 ounces, take two cups to your seat. If you want 64, carry four. But our hope is, if you only take one, you won't go back.

Q: So haven't you even won in losing, though? Wasn't this really about public awareness?

BLOOMBERG: Obesity this year is going to kill more people in New York City than smoking.

Source: Meet the Press 2013 interviews: 2016 presidential hopefuls , Mar 24, 2013

Large sugary drink rule is portion control, not a ban

Q: Your ban on these large sugary drinks goes into effect next week in New York. Some people are saying this is making it really hard on us, including Starbucks.

BLOOMBERG: That's ridiculous. Starbucks knows how to package things. They can change instantly when it's in their interest to do so. This is in the country's interest. This year, for the first time in the history of the world, more people will die from too much food than from too little food. More people will die from the effects of obesity than from starvation. And we've got to do something about this. This is going to bankrupt the country. Our medical system cannot handle it. Being overweight has gone from a rich person's disease to a poor person's disease. We've just got to do something. And all we're doing in NYC is reminding you that it's not in your interest to have too many empty calories. You can have some. If you want to have 32 ounces, just buy two 16-ounce cups. We're not banning anything. it's called portion control.

Source: CBS Face the Nation 2013 series: 2016 presidential hopefuls , Mar 10, 2013

2000: Two stents implanted in coronary artery

It wasn't until halfway through his 2nd term that New Yorkers learned their mayor had 2 stents implanted in a coronary artery the year before his 1st campaign. The heart blockage was revealed only because Newsweek's reporters dug into health records during Bloomberg's presidential flirtation. The stock market did not shudder at the news. But in a city that heard Rudy Giuliani reciting clinical descriptions of his prostate treatments and Ed Koch loudly proclaiming his fitness 72 hours after suffering a minor stroke, the "none of your business" Bloomberg manner came across as defiant and disdaining.

Bloomberg's obsessive search for privacy produces frequent disappearances when he is not campaigning for office. None of them ever announced--a privilege the president of the US does not enjoy.

Source: Bloomberg: Money, Power, Politics, by Joyce Purnick, p. 69 , Sep 28, 2010

$500M to Johns Hopkins' Bloomberg School of Public Health

He gives to causes and institutions large and small, with a special focus on public health, education and medical research. In his favored field of health, he supports research into malaria, breast cancer, and ALS, and into less conspicuous diseases, including lupus, dystonia and Marfan syndrome.

By 2009, Bloomberg's cumulative contributions to Johns Hopkins had topped $500 million. His central focus at Hopkins is the celebrated School of Public Health that bears his name. He was drawn to public health because others were not. "Mike's a contrarian," says the university's president. "He gives to projects other people don't. He recognized the importance of public health before anyone else did. They don't realize they are living because they didn't get polio or smallpox or whatever. Mike understood that. He thinks in terms of how to move the needle, how to make a difference."

Source: Bloomberg: Money, Power, Politics, by J. Purnick, p.194-195 , Sep 28, 2010

Ban trans-fats and replace with fruit & vegetable vendors

Last year, we didn’t just ban trans-fats. We’ve increased the availability of healthy foods in neighborhoods where they are hardest to find and also raised the number of street vendors who sell fruit and vegetables.

This year, we will raise the quality of food served in every City agency--that’s nearly 1.5 million meals every single day of the year. We’ll also continue opening parks and playgrounds in every neighborhood, so that every New Yorker has no more than a 10-minute walk to enjoy them.

Source: 2008 State of the City Address , Jan 17, 2008

$2.5B trust fund for NYC future retirees’ health care

Consider this: the federal government requires cities and states to set aside funding for future retirees’ pensions--but not for future retirees’ health care, even though we have just as much of an obligation to pay their health care costs as we do their pensions. This makes no sense! So we’ve done something fairly unusual: we’ve set up a trust fund for future retiree health care costs, and we’ve dedicated $2.5 billion from our surplus to it. That’s just basic fiscal responsibility.
Source: Speech at “Ceasefire! Bridging The Political Divide” meeting , Jun 18, 2007

Pay-for-prevention towards goal of universal coverage

Everyone talks about universal health insurance coverage--and that’s an important goal. But it’s not going to change the underlying reality of a health care system that is both too expensive and too ineffective.

That’s why in NYC, not only have we dramatically increased health insurance coverage; we’re moving toward a ‘pay-for-prevention’ system of health-care that rewards primary care doctors who succeed in keeping people out of hospitals. A key step in doing this is providing prevention-oriented electronic health records to help doctors deliver better preventive care.

These records can also enable private insurers, as well as Medicaid and Medicare, to hold doctors accountable for their patients’ performance--and to pay more to the doctors who keep their patients healthy.

Source: Speech at “Ceasefire! Bridging The Political Divide” meeting , Jun 18, 2007

Prioritize city healthcare on HIV, diabetes & hypertension

Bloomberg is passionately interested in public health. He has donated millions of dollars to the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Under Bloomberg, the city Health Department has made HIV, diabetes and hypertension priorities.

Bloomberg extended New York City’s smoking ban to all commercial establishments, including bars and nightclubs. In Dec. 2006, New York became the first city in the US to ban trans-fat from all restaurants. It will go into effect in July of 2008.

Source: Wikipedia.org entry, “Michael_Bloomberg” , May 2, 2007

Banned trans fats in NYC restaurants

You don’t normally turn to The N.Y. Times’ Dining Out section for serious political commentary, but there it was recently, under the subhead, “How the Mayor Became The City’s Most Powerful Foodie.” As part of his campaign to protect constituents against obesity and diabetes...Libertarians might quarrel that what we eat is none of the government’s business. But try this on for a Bloomberg political slogan: “Vote for me and I’ll make you thinner and better-looking.”
Source: Dale McFeatters on ScrippsNews, “The Food Candidate” , Apr 11, 2007

Smoking ban was a crusade of his mayoral administration

As mayor-elect, Bloomberg hired Dr. Thomas Frieden, whose highest priority was reducing cancer caused by cigarettes. Bloomberg didn’t just hire Frieden to be his health commissioner; he signed on for the first crusade of his first term. The Bloomberg administration [experienced an] uproar over the smoking ban.
Source: Chris Smith, New York Magazine , Oct 3, 2005

Other candidates on Health Care: Mike Bloomberg on other issues:
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Pres.Donald Trump (R-NY)
V.P.Mike Pence (R-IN)
V.P.Joe Biden (D-DE)
Sen.Kamala Harris (D-CA)
CEO Don Blankenship (Constitution-WV)
CEO Rocky De La Fuente (R-CA)
Howie Hawkins (Green-NY)
Jo Jorgensen (Libertarian-IL)
Gloria La Riva (Socialist-CA)
Kanye West (Birthday-CA)

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Gov.Bill Weld (Libertarian-NY,R-MA)

2020 Democratic Veepstakes Candidates:
State Rep.Stacey Abrams (D-GA)
Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms (D-GA)
Rep.Val Demings (D-FL)
Sen.Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
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Sen.Maggie Hassan (D-NH)
Gov.Michelle Lujan-Grisham (D-NM)
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2020 Withdrawn Democratic Candidates:
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Mayor Mike Bloomberg (I-NYC)
Sen.Cory Booker (D-NJ)
Gov.Steve Bullock (D-MT)
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Mayor Wayne Messam (D-FL)
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Adm.Joe Sestak (D-PA)
CEO Tom Steyer (D-CA)
Rep.Eric Swalwell (D-CA)
Marianne Williamson (D-CA)
CEO Andrew Yang (D-NY)

Page last updated: Mar 20, 2021