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Kamala Harris on Health Care

Democratic candidate for President; California Senator

 


Federal funding for PrEP to prevent HIV/AIDS

Q: I was diagnosed with HIV when I was 20 years old. What will you do to combat the rate of HIV diagnosis in the communities that are most impacted, like mine, black gay men?

HARRIS: Gay black men are twice as likely to contract HIV and AIDS. One of the issues also that is relevant to this point is the affordability of medications such as PrEP, which is extremely expensive. I have been a leader in the US Senate to say that it should be covered by insurance and money should not be the barrier to access to PrEP, which is obviously a life-saving drug. In terms of HIV-AIDS rates among black men in particular, it is still much higher because the hierarchy still exists within the community around access to health care, housing, employment, and things of that nature. So I will, as president, I commit to you, deal with all of those, but also we need to deal with it in the context of having a commitment, which is my commitment, that within a generation we will end HIV-AIDS.

Source: CNN LGBT Town Hall , Oct 10, 2019

Medicare-for-All with 10-year transition and private option

Q: This week you released a new health care plan which would preserve private insurance and take 10 years to phase in. Vice President Biden's campaign calls your plan "a have-it-every-which-way approach" and says it's just part of a confusing pattern of equivocating about your health care stance. What do you say to that?

HARRIS: I have been spending time in this campaign listening to American families, listening to experts, listening to health care providers, and what I came away with is a very clear understanding that I needed to create a plan that was responsive to the needs of the American people, understanding that insurance companies have been jacking up the prices for far too long. I listened to the American families who said four years is just not enough to transition into this new plan, so I devised a plan where it's going to be 10 years of a transition. I listened to American families who said I want an option that will be under your Medicare system that allows a private plan.

Source: July Democratic Primary debate (second night in Detroit) , Jul 31, 2019

Cover everyone; don't leave out 10 million Americans

HARRIS [to V.P. Biden]: Our plan will bring health care to all Americans under a Medicare for All system. Our plan will allow people to start signing up on the first day. Your plan, by contrast, leaves out almost 10 million Americans. So I think that you should be reflective and understand that the people of America want access to health care and do not want cost to be their barrier to getting it.

BIDEN: The plan costs $3 trillion [annually]. Ten years from now, after two terms of the senator being president, after her time. Secondly, it will require middle-class taxes to go up, not down. Thirdly, it will eliminate employer-based insurance. And fourthly, what happens in the meantime?

HARRIS: The cost of doing nothing is far too expensive. We are now paying $3 trillion a year for health care in America. Over the next 10 years, it's probably going to be $6 trillion. We must act. My plan is about immediately allowing people to sign up and get into coverage.

Source: July Democratic Primary debate (second night in Detroit) , Jul 31, 2019

Separate employment from healthcare, but not illegal

Sen. Michael BENNET: The plan that Senator Harris proposed would make illegal employer based health insurance in this country and massively raise taxes.

HARRIS: My plan does not offer anything that is illegal. What it does is it separates the employer from healthcare, meaning that the kind of healthcare you get will not be a function of where you work. I have me met so many Americans who stick to a job that they do not like, where they are not prospering simply because they need the healthcare that that employer provides. It's time that we separate employers from the kind of healthcare people get and under my plan, we do that as it relates to the insurance and the pharmaceutical companies, who will not be taken to task by Senator Bennet's plan. We will do that.

BENNET: We need to be honest about what's in this plan. It bans employer based insurance and taxes the middle class to the tune of $30 trillion

Source: July Democratic Primary debate (second night in Detroit) , Jul 31, 2019

For-profit insurers jack up co-pays and deductibles

Sen. Kirstin Gillibrand: The insurance companies, I'm sorry, they're for-profit companies.

Harris: In terms of the point that Senator Gillibrand is raising, I couldn't agree more. Senator Biden, your plan will keep and allow insurance companies to remain with status quo, doing business as usual, and that's going to be about jacking up co-pays, jacking up deductibles.

Source: July Democratic Primary debate (second night in Detroit) , Jul 31, 2019

Huge profits for insurance; pharma on backs of families

Sen. Joe Biden: Thirty trillion dollars [the cost of Medicare-for-All] has to ultimately be paid. And I don't know what math you do in New York, I don't know what math you do in California, but I tell ya, that's a lot of money, and there will be a deductible.

Kamala Harris: Let's talk about math. Let's talk about the fact that pharmaceutical and insurance companies last year profited $72 billion on the backs of American families. Under your plan, you do nothing to hold the insurance companies to task for what they have been doing to American families. Today diabetes patients, one in four cannot afford insulin. For those people who have overdosed from an opioid, there is a syringe that costs $4,000 that will save their life. It is immoral. It is untenable.

Source: July Democratic Primary debate (second night in Detroit) , Jul 31, 2019

$5000 deductible demonstrates flaws of for profit system

A parent who has seen their child has a temperature that is out of control, calls 911, what should I do? They say, take the child to the Emergency Room. They are sitting in the parking lot outside of the Emergency Room looking at those sliding glass doors while they have the hand on the forehead of their child, knowing that if they walk through those doors, even though they have insurance, they will be out a $5,000 deductible. That's what insurance companies are doing in America today.
Source: June Democratic Primary debate (second night in Miami) , Jun 27, 2019

Supports Medicare for All, even undocumented aliens

Q: What about Medicare-for-All?

A: I support Medicare-for-All, and the vision of what it will be includes an expansion of coverage. Medicare-for-All will include vision. It will include dental. It will include hearing aids.

Q: You support giving universal health care to people in this country illegally?

A: I'm opposed to any policy that would deny in our country any human being from access to public safety, public education, or public health, period.

Source: CNN SOTU 2019 interview of presidential hopefuls , May 12, 2019

Private insurance not victims under single payer

I support Medicare for all. And I support it for a number of reasons. That include the fact that there are a lot of people in our country who simply do not have access to health care because they cannot afford it. And that's unconscionable. On the issue of access to private insurance, you can get supplemental insurance. But let's not be duped by a messaging campaign by the insurance companies to have you into believing that you need to defend them. You need to defend yourself.
Source: CNN Town Hall 2020: 5 candidates back-to-back , Apr 22, 2019

Make healthcare fundamental right, not privilege for wealthy

I believe we are at an inflection point in the history of our nation. What is the state of our union? And how must our leaders respond?

We need our leaders to speak the truth that we have an economy where the cost of health care, housing, and education are going up, but paychecks aren't growing fast enough to keep up.

Let's fight for an America where the economy works for working people. An America where health care and education are fundamental rights, not a privilege for the wealthy few.

Source: Democratic prebuttal to the 2019 State of the Union speech , Feb 5, 2019

End private health insurance with Medicare for All

Source: PBS News hour on 2020 Presidential hopefuls , Jan 21, 2019

We pay more for prescriptions than abroad: they negotiate

Compared with people in other wealthy countries, Americans face extraordinarily high prescription drug prices. In 2016, for example, the same dose of Crestor, a medication that treats high cholesterol, costs 62% more in the US than just across the border in Canada. This disparity exists with drug after drug. 58% of Americans take prescription drugs; and 25% find their medications difficult to afford.

Why are Americans paying so much more for the medications we need? Because, unlike many other advanced countries, the U.S. government doesn't negotiate prices on prescription drugs. When a government is purchasing medicines in bulk, it can negotiate a better price and pass those cost savings to consumers.

Medicare, which covers about 55 million people, could have incredible bargaining power to drive significantly lower prescription prices through negotiation. But lawmakers from both parties, at the behest of the pharmaceutical lobby, have prohibited Medicare from doing so.

Source: The Truths We Hold, by Kamala Harris, p.188-9 , Jan 8, 2019

Require pharmaceutical companies to allow generics

She filed a friend-of-the-court brief signed by thirty-one other state attorneys general in 2011 in a Supreme Court case looking to end the practice of drug companies paying competitors to keep generic versions of their drugs off the market.
Source: Jacobin Magazine on 2018 California Senate race , Aug 10, 2017

Companies should provide contraception under ObamaCare

Kamala Harris is attacking company owners whose religious beliefs may be at odds with stipulations found in ObamaCare. Harris' office filed a brief asking the Supreme Court to review whether businesses can be exempt from providing contraception coverage. Specifically, she's attacking businesses where owners may disagree with specific contraception types for religious reasons:

"Under the ACA, all Americans have the right to access affordable, quality healthcare, including contraception. For-profit companies should not be able to deny women access to healthcare based on the religious beliefs of the company's owners. The 10th circuit ruling should be reversed by the US Supreme Court."

The list of ObamaCare exemptions includes one on religion: anyone who is "conscientiously opposed to accepting any insurance benefits," which some say includes Muslim groups. This portion of the law was apparently written specifically for the Amish, but it may play a role in the fight over ObamaCare.

Source: Inquisitr.com coverage of 2015 California Senate race , Nov 26, 2013

Opposes repealing mandated health insurance.

Harris opposes the CC survey question on nationalized healthcare

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 or Pay Fines' The Christian Coalition notes, "You can help make sure that voters have the facts BEFORE they cast their votes. We have surveyed candidates in the most competitive congressional races on the issues that are important to conservatives."

Source: Christian Coalition Survey 16_CC5 on Nov 8, 2016

Other candidates on Health Care: Kamala Harris on other issues:
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Antonio Villaraigosa
Carly Fiorina
David Hadley
Delaine Eastin
Doug Ose
Eric Garcetti
Eric Swalwell
Gavin Newsom
Gloria La Riva
Hilda Solis
Jerry Brown
Jerry Sanders
John Chiang
John Cox
Neel Kashkari
Travis Allen
Zoltan Istvan
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Dianne Feinstein
Duf Sundheim
Greg Brannon
Kevin de Leon
Loretta Sanchez
Michael Eisen
Rocky Chavez
Tom Del Beccaro

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Page last updated: Jan 01, 2020