Steve Bullock on Health Care

Democratic Presidential Challenger; MT Governor


Medicare-for-All is wish-list economics

Q: Opening statement?

BULLOCK: Watching that last debate, folks seemed more concerned about outdoing each other with wish-list economics, than making sure Americans know we will help their lives. I won 3 elections in a red state--not by compromising our values, but by getting stuff done. That teacher working a second job, just to afford her insulin. They can't wait for a revolution.

Q [to Warren]: You support Medicare-for-All. Does that include raising taxes on middle-class Americans?

WARREN: Giant corporations and billionaires are going to pay more. Middle-class families are going to pay less out of pocket for their health care.

Q [to Bullock]: You do not support Medicare-for-All?

BULLOCK: I'm not going to support any plan that rips away quality health care from individuals. This is an example of wish-list economics. It used to be just Republicans who wanted to repeal and replace. Now many Democrats do, as well. We can get there with a public option, and negotiating drug prices.

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

We pay more for prescription drugs than anyplace in world

Q [to O'Rourke]: You oppose Medicare-for-All?

Rep. Beto O`ROURKE: 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?

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. We pay more for prescription drugs than any place in the world. Negotiate prescription drug prices. End surprise medical billing. That's the way that we can get there without disrupting the lives of 160 million people that like their employer-sponsored health insurance.

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

Medicare-for-All is wish-list economics

Q: You do not support Medicare for All?

BULLOCK: No, health care is so personal to all of us. I'm not going to support any plan that rips away quality health care from individuals. This is an example of wish list economics. It used to be just Republicans who wanted to repeal and replace. Now many Democrats do, as well. We can get there with a public option, negotiating drug prices...

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

Health care reform without disrupting the entire system

We can get access and affordability to people and get them decent healthcare without disrupting 180 million people or completely getting rid of private insurance. Allow the federal government to negotiate for prescription drugs, take on out-of-network billing and surprise charges. When I'm talking to folks, many of them think that their insurance premiums are too high or that these out-of-network charges didn't happen, but they're not saying let's completely upend and disrupt the entire
Source: ABC This Week interviews in 2019 , Jul 21, 2019

Build on ObamaCare but don't replace with single-payer

Q: Would your focus be improving the Affordable Care Act or replacing it with single payer?

A: "My focus would be building off of the Affordable Care Act and improving it."

Source: 2019 "Meet the Candidates" (NY Times.com) , Jun 18, 2019

Medicaid expansion good for business & jobs

In 2015 we passed one of the most innovative Medicaid expansion programs in the nation. No other state has increased labor force participation like we have because of our HELP-Link program. If I told you I had a business coming to Montana that would create between 5,900 and 7,500 jobs--that would infuse over $350 million of new personal income into our state--you would tell me that sounds pretty darn good. That's exactly what Medicaid expansion has done and will continue to do.
Source: 2019 State of the State address to the Montana legislature , Jan 31, 2019

Got Medicaid expansion through a GOP-dominated legislature

Bullock got Medicaid expansion through a Republican-dominated legislature, with a demographic makeup much like Iowa's. And he's worked with the state legislature to shed light on what campaign finance activists have termed "dark money"--political contributions from outside interests that don't have to disclose their donors--in Montana politics. When Bullock talks about getting the Medicaid expansion through, someone lets out a low, appreciative whistle.
Source: Buzzfeed.com on 2020 Democratic primary , Sep 29, 2018

Protect ObamaCare before pushing to expand further

A number of skeptical Democrats had criticized Sanders' push Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, arguing that the party should be focused on preserving the ACA's gains before trying to build something new. Bullock was one of them.

But when I ask about the substance of Sanders' push for a universal Medicare system, he grows philosophical. "Divorce process and substance, and I think that we all know we spend way too much on health care. When we look at how the middle class hasn't gotten ahead for the most part, look at how health care costs have been going up--maybe that could have gone to, actually, wages. We all know we're probably the only industrialized nation that doesn't provide health care. There's a lot of ways to get there," he says. He then, unprompted, turns to the idea of liberal purity tests, amid talk among Sanders' supporters of punishing Democrats who opposed Medicare for All.

Source: Politico.com on 2020 presidential hopefuls , Oct 11, 2017

Worked with legislature to expand Medicaid

In 2015, Steve brought Republicans and Democrats together again to provide affordable health care coverage for up to 70,000 working Montanans through Medicaid expansion, becoming the only governor in 2015 to work with a legislature to expand Medicaid.

OnTheIssues Note: "Medicaid expansion" is a major aspect of ObamaCare implementation at the state level. As of 2016, sixteen states rejected Medicaid expansion; of those, 15 have Republican governors.

Source: 2016 Montana gubernatorial campaign website SteveBullock.com , Mar 21, 2016

Insure the working poor with federal dollars

The 70,000 Montanans who are hiding in plain view are the working poor. That's why Representative Noonan and I are proposing a uniquely Montana plan--based upon the popular Healthy Montana Kids Plan--that will extend coverage to tens of thousands of Montanans. The Healthy Montana Plan will bring our federal dollars back to Montana, to cover those without insurance. We will negotiate with a private carrier to drive down rates and reform the way that Medicaid is delivered in this state.

HB 249 Legislative Summary: A bill for an act entitled: "an act creating the Healthy Montana Act to expand health care coverage to additional individuals and improve access to health care services; establishing a health care coverage program to provide certain low-income Montanans with access to health care services using Medicaid funds and an arrangement with a third-party administrator; providing support for health care delivery across Montana; and establishing a special revenue account.

Source: State of the State on 2015 Montana voting records: HB 249 , Jan 28, 2015

Access Health Montana: increase coverage and access

To have a healthy economy, we need healthy citizens. For those of us with health insurance, we're paying too much and getting too little. And for the tens of thousands of Montanans who don't have insurance, the Emergency Room has become a primary care facility, pushing costs for all of us even higher. The fact is, subsidizing expensive ER care for the uninsured costs Montanans $300 million a year. That makes no sense when there is a smarter, cheaper way to provide better care.

Through Access Health Montana, we are proposing a made-in-Montana solution designed to increase coverage and access to health care for more Montana families. It will also create a patient-centered delivery system that focuses on coordinating care and improving health, rather than simply treating illness. Implementing these measures will allow us to better control and ultimately lower the costs of health care--slowing the annual rate hikes that hit all of our wallets.

Source: 2013 State of the State Address to Montana legislature , Jan 30, 2013

Other candidates on Health Care: Steve Bullock 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)
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External Links about Steve Bullock:

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 14, 2019