Scott Kleeb on Health Care

Democratic Challenger

Enhance Medicare Rx program, and fill "donut hole"

Q: Do you support the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit?

A: While no one action will stabilize the Medicare program, I believe we must enhance the prescription drug program while making these benefits easier for seniors to access. Moreover, I believe we must fill the "donut hole" so seniors won't be forced to pay unfair premiums & must pursue all available options to reduce drug prices. Finally, I believe we must do more to support incentives for small businesses that struggle to provide health care.

Source: Senior Citizens League Guide to the 2008 US Senate Campaigns Oct 10, 2008

Shouldn't phase out adult mental health care services

Kleeb accused Johanns of "zeroing out" the mental health budget during his tenure as governor, when the state phased out adult mental health care services at the regional center in Hastings and began doing so at the regional center in Norfolk.

Johanns said that Kleeb was "simply wrong" and that neither he nor state lawmakers would have allowed that to happen.

Kleeb quickly took aim at Johanns during his opening statement, criticizing the former governor for his role in phasing out the state's regional centers. In 2004, Johanns supported a proposal to develop more community-based programs for the mentally ill. As part of that plan, lawmakers lessened the roles of the regional centers and spent the money from institutional treatment on community-based mental health services.

Johanns responded that more than $26 million was budgeted to help with the transition. "We would never have gotten a bill passed with that idea. It would (have been) just cruel beyond cruel," said Johanns.

Source: 2008 Nebraska Senate Debate reported in Omaha World-Herald Oct 7, 2008

Give all taxpayers access to federal coverage like Congress

Johanns took aim at Kleeb's repeated promise to give all taxpayers access to the federal health care coverage provided to Congress and other federal employees.

Johanns said that was a "nice sound bite," but said it would cost the nation $480 billion.

Kleeb responded that at a time when government was spending billions to rescue Wall Street, he thought the federal government could help insure the uninsured. It is estimated that about 200,000 Nebraskans lack health insurance, Kleeb said.

Kleeb also argued that Nebraskans already pay for the uninsured, whose medical bills are passed down by hospitals and doctors to other consumers. "We actually can afford it because we're paying it," Kleeb said.

Source: 2008 Nebraska Senate Debate reported in Omaha World-Herald Oct 7, 2008

Alternative community treatment not adequately funded

The candidates clashed over Johanns' record as governor in closing state psychiatric institutions in Hastings and Norfolk to shift treatment to nonhospital community settings. Kleeb called that failed leadership because alternative community treatment was not adequately funded, leaving authorities with no place to house mentally ill people taken into custody. He cited allegations of inhumane treatment of residents of the Beatrice State Developmental Center.

Johanns said Kleeb made a "major mistake" by calling the Beatrice center a "mental health" facility because it treats the developmentally disabled. He said the policy change allowed Nebraska to access millions in additional federal dollars, allowing 9,000 more people to receive mental health services.

Source: 2008 Nebraska Senate debate reported in Omaha World-Herald Sep 16, 2008

Parity for mental health; coverage for dental health

Scott will work to transform America's ailing health care system by following these principles:
  • Parity with Members of Congress. Kleeb believes that health care coverage should be on par with the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program--the health plan Members of Congress receive.
  • Portability. We don't choose our health care plans; our employers do. Kleeb believes that health insurance should be portable so that we can play a greater deciding role in who provides our care.
  • Prevention. Kleeb will work toward a system designed to promote wellness and prevention, not merely treating sickness.
  • Mental health parity. Kleeb is committed to establishing mental health parity and will do all he can to make sure Nebraskans have the mental health coverage they need.
  • Coverage for dental care. Scott Kleeb knows that dental care is a necessary and integral part of overall general health, and should be] covered by insurance plans.
    Source: Campaign booklet, Nebraska's Brand of Change, p.14-15 Aug 19, 2008

    High-quality and affordable coverage for all Americans

    As a nation, we must provide high-quality, affordable, and portable coverage for all Americans. Increasingly, this is not just a moral imperative but an economic necessity as the high cost of health care coverage is putting American business, large and small alike, at a weaker competitive advantage with their overseas competitors. Working with all parties, we must guarantee all Americans access to affordable health plans, regardless of income or illness.
    Source: Campaign website, www.ScottKleeb.com May 14, 2008

    Healthcare plan similar to what all Members of Congress have

    At a minimum, any such plan must be similar to that offered through the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, the plan all Members of Congress have, and that it would cover all essential medical services, including preventative, maternity, and mental health care. Physical illness must be covered on parity with mental illness. We also provide affordable premiums, co-pays, and deductibles with a guarantee of easy enrollment for all citizens.
    Source: Campaign website, www.ScottKleeb.com May 14, 2008

    Reward employer who ensure that their employees

    The increased cost of providing health care to employees has put an undue burden on small businesses which are the best provider of stable good paying jobs in America. We need to provide tax incentives that prompt and reward employer who ensure that their employees have good and affordable health care coverage.
    Source: Campaign website, www.ScottKleeb.com May 14, 2008

    Supports universal health-care system

    Kleeb on Health Care: Has no detailed health-care plan. Says he supports universal health-care system, but does not say whether he would support a requirement that all people have insurance in an effort to spread out the costs.
    Source: By Robynn Tysver, Omaha World-Herald May 4, 2008

    Other candidates on Health Care: Scott Kleeb on other issues:
    NE Gubernatorial:
    Dave Heineman
    NE Senatorial:
    Ben Nelson
    Chuck Hagel
    Steven Larrick
    Tony Raimondo

    2008 Senate retirements:

    Wayne Allard(R,CO)
    Larry Craig(R,ID)
    Pete Domenici(R,NM)
    Chuck Hagel(R,NE)
    Trent Lott(R,MS)
    Craig Thomas(R,WY)
    John Warner(R,VA)

    Incoming Obama Administration:

    Pres.Barack Obama
    V.P.Joe Biden
    State:Hillary Clinton
    HHS:Tom Daschle
    Staff:Rahm Emanuel
    DHS:Janet Napolitano
    DOC:Bill Richardson
    DoD:Robert Gates
    A.G.:Eric Holder
    Treas.:Tim Geithner
    Winners of 2008 Senate Races:
    ( * if new to the Senate)
    AK:*Begich over Stevens
    DE:Biden and Kaufman
    GA:Chambliss v.Martin (Dec. 2 runoff)
    MN:Coleman v.Franken (recounting as of Dec.1)
    NC:*Hagan over Dole
    NH:*Shaheen over Sununu
    OR:*Merkley over Smith
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    Page last updated: Dec 03, 2008