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Elizabeth Warren on Health Care

Massachusetts Senator; former head of CFPB; Dem. Presidential Challenger

 


The most vulnerable people are susceptible to Coronavirus

Q: We heard from President Trump tonight, on dealing with the spread of the Coronavirus. What would you do as president?

WARREN: This really is serious. We know that, with any virus that develops, the most vulnerable will be our children, seniors, people with compromised immune systems. First we think about allocation--our overall approach. I'm going to be introducing a plan tomorrow to take every dime that the president is now spending on his racist wall at our southern border and divert it to work on the Coronavirus.

Q: V.P. Pence is in charge of the U.S. response?

WARREN: We need someone in the White House who is coordinating all of the work and all of the messaging and all of the information. Do keep in mind that this vice president has dealt with a public health emergency before, in Indiana [with HIV]. And what was his approach? It was to put politics over science and let a serious virus expand in his state and cost people lives. He is not the person who should be in charge.

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

Reduce the cost of commonly-used prescription drugs

I think we need to think about healthcare a little differently and that is, 36 million Americans last year couldn't afford to have a prescription filled and that includes people with health insurance. On day one, I will defend the Affordable Care Act and I will use march in orders to reduce the cost of commonly used prescription drugs like insulin and HIV, AIDS, drugs and EpiPens.
Source: 8th Democrat 2020 primary debate, St. Anselm College in NH , Feb 7, 2020

Let government manufacture drugs when there's a price spike

Q: You've called for the creation of a government-run drug manufacturer that would step in if there is a drug shortage or a price spike. Why does it make sense for the government to manufacture drugs, especially when public trust in government is near historic lows?

WARREN: There are a whole lot of drugs, about 90% of drugs, that are not under patent. They're generic drugs. The drug industry has figured out how to manipulate this industry to keep jerking the prices up and up and up. So my view is, let's give them a little competition. The government lets contracts for all kind of things. Let's let the contracts out. Put the contracts out so that we can put more generic drugs out there and drive down those prices. This is a way to make markets work, not to try to move away from the market. You don't have to even use price controls. The whole idea behind it is get some competition out there so the price of these drugs that are no longer under patent drops where it should be.

Source: 7th Democrat primary debate, on eve of Iowa caucus , Jan 14, 2020

Tax the 1 percent and we can provide health care to all

WARREN: The problem is that plans like the mayor's and like the vice president's is that they are an improvement. But they're a small improvement. And that's why it is that they cost so much less, because by themselves, they're not going to be enough to cover prescriptions for 36 million people who can't afford to get them filled. We can ask those at the very top, the top 1 percent, to pay a little more. When we do that, we have enough money to provide health care for all our people.

Mayor Pete BUTTIGIEG: It's not true that the plan I'm proposing is small. We've got to move past a mentality that suggests that the bigness of plans only consists of how many trillions of dollars they put through the Treasury. This would be the biggest thing we've done to American health care in a half-century. On prescription drugs, we'll have an out-of-pocket cap, even if you don't get the subsidies that would make it free, a $250 monthly cap.

Source: 7th Democrat primary debate, on eve of Iowa caucus , Jan 14, 2020

A president can cut Epi-pen costs all by herself

Last year, 36 million Americans didn't have a prescription filled because they couldn't afford it. Many are people with insurance. People who can't do the deductibles. People who find out the drug is not covered. On day one, I'm going to attack the prices on drugs like Epi-pens and insulin and bring down those prices. The president can do that. That's going to save families hundreds of millions of dollars.
Source: Newshour/Politico/PBS December Democratic primary debate , Dec 19, 2019

People shouldn't make medical decisions based on cost

WARREN: I see millions struggling to pay their medical bills, 37 million people who decided not to have a prescription filled because they can't afford it. I will bring down the cost of things like insulin and EpiPens. I want to bring in 135 million people into Medicare for all at no cost to them. Everybody under the age of 18, everybody who has a family of four income less than $50,000. I want to lower the age of Medicare to 50 and expand coverage to include vision, dental and long-term care.
Source: November Democratic primary debate in Atlanta , Nov 20, 2019

Health care bill must reduce costs for middle class families

Q: Will you raise taxes on the middle class to pay for Medicare for All?

WARREN: Costs will go up for the wealthy & for big corporations. For hardworking, middle class families, costs will go down. It is about what kinds of costs middle class families are going to face. So let me be clear on this. Costs will go up for the wealthy, they will go up for big corporations and for middle class families, they will go down. I will not sign a bill into law that does not lower costs for middle class families/

Source: October Democratic CNN/NYTimes Primary debate , Oct 15, 2019

AIDS drugs should be available at cost for all

Q: Would you commit to calling for funding increases to end the AIDS pandemic?

WARREN: Yes. I want to see us bring down the cost of drugs that are generic. This drug will be off-patent by then. And I commit that in my administration we will let out a government contract to produce that drug and make that drug available at cost both here in the United States and all around the world.

Source: CNN LGBT Town Hall 2020 , Oct 10, 2019

How to pay for it? Wealthy people & corporations pay more

Q: Are single-payer plans such as those by Senators Warren and Sanders pushing too far?

V.P. Joe BIDEN: I think we should have a debate on health care. I think Obamacare worked. I think the way we add to it, replace everything that has been cut, add a public option, guarantee that everyone will be able to have affordable insurance, number one. Number two, I think we should look at cost. My plan costs $740 billion. It doesn't cost $3.4 trillion a year. How are we going to pay for it? Thus far, Senator Warren has not indicated how she pays for it.

WARREN: We owe a huge debt to President Obama, who transformed health care. Now, how best can we improve it? I believe the best way we can do that is we make sure everybody gets covered by health care at the lowest possible cost. How do we pay for it? Those at the very top, the richest individuals and the biggest corporations, are going to pay more. And middle class families are going to pay less.

Source: September Democratic Primary debate in Houston , Sep 12, 2019

Medicare-for-All means rich pay more, middle class less

What families have to deal with is cost. On Medicare for All, costs are going to go up for wealthier individuals and costs are going to go up for giant corporations. But for hard-working families across this country, costs are going to go down and that's how it should work under Medicare for All in our health care system.
Source: September Democratic Primary debate in Houston , Sep 12, 2019

For-profit insurance is not working for Americans

Q: Your opening statement?

DELANEY: Folks, we have a choice. We can go down the road that Senator Sanders and Senator Warren want to take us, which is with bad policies like Medicare-for-all. But we don't have to go around and be the party of subtraction, and telling half the country, who has private health insurance, that their health insurance is illegal.

WARREN: Let's be clear about this. We are the Democrats. We are not about trying to take away health care from anyone. That's what the Republicans are trying to do. And we should stop using Republican talking points in order to talk with each other about how to best provide that health care. The basic profit model of an insurance company is taking as much money as you can in premiums and pay out as little as possible. That is not working for Americans. Medicare-for-All will fix that, and that's why I'll fight for it.

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

No God-given right to suck billions in healthcare profit

Q: No private insurers in Medicare-for-All?

WARREN: We have to think in terms of the big frame. Washington works great for the wealthy, who can hire armies of lobbyists. And it keeps working great for the insurance companies. What it's going to take is real courage to fight back against them. These insurance companies do not have a God-given right to make $23 billion in profits and suck it out of our health care system.

Rep. John DELANEY: We need to have solutions that are workable. Can you imagine if we tried to start Social Security now but said "private pensions are illegal?" That's the equivalent of what Senator Warren is proposing with health care.

WARREN: He talks about solutions that are workable. We have tried the solution of private insurance companies. They've sucked billions of dollars out of our health care system. They've made everybody fill out dozens of forms. Why? Not because they're trying to track your health care. They just want one more excuse to say no.

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

Costs will go up for billionaires, down for middle class

Q: At the last debate, you said you're "with Bernie on Medicare-for-all." Are you also with Senator Bernie Sanders when it comes to raising taxes on middle-class Americans to pay for it?

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. The basic profit model of an insurance company is taking as much money as you can in premiums and pay out as little as possible in health care coverage. That is not working for Americans across this country

Q: Would you raise taxes on the middle class to pay for Medicare for All, offset, obviously, by the elimination of insurance premiums, yes or no?

WARREN: Costs will go up for billionaires and go up for corporations. For middle-class families, costs -- total costs -- will go down.

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

Complicated forms gives insurance companies chance to say no

Q: Do you lack the will to fight for Medicare for All, as Senator Warren suggested?

Gov. John HICKENLOOPER: It comes down to that question of Americans being used to being able to make choices. Proposing a public option that allows some form of Medicare that maybe is a combination of Medicare Advantage and Medicare, but if enough people choose it, it expands, the quality improves, the cost comes down, eventually, in 15 years, you could get there, but it would be an evolution, not a revolution.

WARREN: We have tried this experiment with the insurance companies. What they've done is sucked billions of dollars out of our health care system. They force people to fight to get the health care coverage that their doctors and nurses say that they need. Why does every doctor, every hospital have to fill out so many complicated forms? It's because it gives insurance companies a chance to say no and to push that cost back on the patients.

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

We've tried private insurance; it sucks out billions

Rep. John DELANEY: When we created Social Security, we didn't say pensions were illegal, right? We can have big ideas to transform the lives. We need to have solutions that are workable. Can you imagine if we tried to start Social Security now but said private pensions are illegal? That's the equivalent of what Senator Sanders and Senator Warren are proposing with health care. That's not a big idea. That's an idea that's dead on arrival.

WARREN: He talks about solutions that are workable. We have tried the solution of Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance. And what have the private insurance companies done? They've sucked billions of dollars out of our health care system. They've made everybody fill out dozens and dozens of forms. Why? Not because they're trying to track your health care. They just want one more excuse to say no. Insurance companies do not have a God-given right to suck money out of our health care system.

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

$23B in insurance profits means they want no change

The insurance companies last year alone sucked $23 billion in profits out of the health care system. That doesn't count the money that was paid to executives, the money that was spent lobbying Washington. We have a giant industry that wants our health care system to stay the way it is, because it's not working for families, but it's sure as heck working for them. It's time for us to make families come first.
Source: June Democratic Primary debate (first night in Miami) , Jun 26, 2019

$100 billion in multi-faceted program on opioid addiction

Opioid crisis: Proposed a $100 billion plan over the next 10 years to fund first responders, public health departments and states for prevention and rehabilitation services. Warren fired shots at Big Pharma and Congress for choosing "greed" over the best interest of the American public.
Source: Axios.com "What you need to know about 2020" , May 8, 2019

Start with prescription drugs, then negotiate single payer

When we're talking about health care in America right now, the first thing we need to be talking about is defend the Affordable Care Act. Let's bring down the cost of prescription drugs all across this country. We can import drugs from Canada where the safety standards are the same. We can negotiate the prices under Medicare. I've got a proposal to help bring down the cost on generic drugs, which could be about 90 percent of all prescriptions. What's key is we get everybody at the table on this and we figure out how to do Medicare for all in a way that makes sure that we're going to get 100 percent coverage in this country at the lowest possible cost for everyone.
Source: CNN Town Hall on 2020 Democratic presidential primary , Mar 18, 2019

Insurance isn't on/off: real coverage vs. faux coverage

Health insurance isn't an on-off switch, giving full protection to everyone who has it. There is real coverage and there is faux coverage. Policies that can be cancelled when you need them most are often useless. So is bare-bones coverage like the Utah Medicaid program pioneered by new Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt; it pays for primary care visits but not specialists or hospital care. We need to talk about quality, durable coverage, not just about how to get more names listed on nearly-useless insurance policies.
Source: Quotable Elizabeth Warren, by Frank Marshall, p.135 , Nov 18, 2014

Obvious solution is universal single-payer healthcare

We approach the health care debates from a single perspective: maintaining the financial stability of families confronting illness or injury. The most obvious solution would be universal single-payer health care.
Source: Quotable Elizabeth Warren, by Frank Marshall, p.139 , Nov 18, 2014

No Medicare vouchers and no privatization

Too many have been using scare tactics when it comes to Social Security. Social Security can pay 100% of benefits for at least the next twenty years. Instead of taking on special interests, too many politicians have proposed privatizing Medicare, turning it into a voucher program, or cutting it altogether. I will not support privatizing Medicare, turning it into a voucher program, or cutting benefits.
Source: Quotable Elizabeth Warren, by Frank Marshall, p.148 , Nov 18, 2014

Healthcare costs higher now than in 1970s

In "The Two-Income Trap" we compare health care costs for a typical family of 4 and found that the average family was paying $1,650 more for insurance in 2000 than in the early 1970's, adjusted for inflation (p.50). The cost of college at a public university nearly doubled during this period (p.42). We discuss the growing importance--and the growing costs--of preschool education (pp.37-38).

The Center for Responsible Lending reports that over the past decade, the trends we noted in "The Two- Income Trap" continued to worsen, as costs for many basic expenses continued to climb relative to incomes for middle-class families. "The declining real incomes of the last decade would not have been so hard on families if the cost of maintaining a household had also remained unchanged. Instead, families were faced with increases in basic non-discretionary expenses like housing, transportation, medical care, & utilities, with no growth--or sometimes even decreases--in income to pay for these items.

Source: A Fighting Chance, by Elizabeth Warren, p.289-90 , Apr 22, 2014

ObamaCare provides free preventive care for women

As two important provisions of the Affordable Care Act reform go into effect today, U.S. Senate candidate and consumer advocate Elizabeth Warren praised the positive benefits that the health care reform law is providing to women and families across the Commonwealth. "By ensuring that insurance companies cover key preventive health services free of charge, the Affordable Care Act is already providing real benefits to women and families here in Massachusetts and across the country," said Warren.

As of today, August 1st, whenever insurance plans come up for their annual renewal, the companies will be required to cover key preventive services for women free of charge. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, approximately 47 million women nationwide, including over 1.2 million Massachusetts women, are in health plans that must cover these new preventive services without charging a co-pay, co-insurance, or deductible.

Source: Boston Globe on 2012 Mass. Senate debate , Aug 1, 2012

No privatizing Medicare, nor voucher program

Too many have been using scare tactics when it comes to Social Security. Social Security can pay 100% of benefits for at least the next 20 years. Instead of taking on special interests, too many politicians have proposed privatizing Medicare, turning it into a voucher program, or cutting it altogether. I will not support privatizing Medicare, turning it into a voucher program, or cutting benefits.
Source: Boston Globe questionnaire on 2012 Mass. Senate debate , Jul 11, 2012

Medical problems cause 750,000 bankruptcies each year

Should you purchase a disability insurance policy, just in case? Or long-term care insurance? When everyone is healthy, the thought of disability can seem like a remote possibility, a bad dream that strikes others, not busy families with young children. But the fact remains: Medical problems send three-quarters of a million families to the bankruptcy courts each year. So think about more insurance. If you never use it, then count yourself lucky.
Source: The Two Income Trap, by Elizabeth Warren, p. 166 , Oct 15, 2007

Medicare-for-All would prevent many people from going broke

I spent a big chunk of my life studying why families go broke. One of the number-one reasons is the cost of health care, medical bills. That's not just for people who don't have insurance. It's for people who have insurance. Look at the business model of an insurance company. It's to bring in as many dollars as they can in premiums and to pay out as few dollars as possible for your health care. That leaves families with rising premiums, rising copays, and fighting with insurance companies to try to get the health care that their doctors say that they and their children need. Medicare for all solves that problem. Health care is a basic human right, and I will fight for basic human rights.
Source: June Democratic Primary debate (first night in Miami) , Jun 26, 2019


Elizabeth Warren on Voting Record

Co-sponsored Medicare-for-All

Medicare For All: Co-sponsored Bernie Sanders' bill in September 2017.
Source: Axios.com "What you need to know about 2020" , May 8, 2019

Too many huge federal giveaways to the drug industry

Senator Elizabeth Warren railed against the 21st Century Cures, saying the bill had been "hijacked" by the pharmaceutical industry. "I cannot vote for this bill,'' Warren said. "I will fight it because I know the difference between compromise and extortion."

The current legislation includes $500 million for the FDA, well below the amount Democrats had sought. Warren and Washington Senator Patty Murray have long argued that they would only support Cures legislation that included significant investment in basic medical research. While Warren said she supported many of the provisions, she called others "huge giveaways" to the drug industry.

Warren cited several measures she viewed as especially outrageous. One would roll back requirements for doctors to report some "Sunshine Act" payments from drug companies. The provision would exempt companies from disclosing fees given doctors for receiving continuing medical education sessions, medical journals, or textbooks.

Source: Warren (D, MA ) on 21st Century Cures Act in StatNews.com , Nov 28, 2016

Supports the President's Affordable Care Act

I support the Affordable Care Act. Thanks to the new law, insurance companies cannot discriminate based on pre-existing conditions, 2.5 million young adults are now covered by health insurance through their parents' plan and more than 100 million people no longer have a lifetime limit on their insurance. Going forward, Congress should focus more on lowering costs. That's what I'll do as a U.S. Senator."
Source: Springfield Republican (MassLive.com), "Weigh in" , Mar 24, 2012

Opposes repealing ObamaCare.

Warren opposes the CC Voters Guide question on ObamaCare

Christian Coalition publishes a number of special voter educational materials including the Christian Coalition Voter Guides, which provide voters with critical information about where candidates stand on important faith and family issues. The Christian Coalition Voters Guide summarizes candidate stances on the following topic: "Repealing "Obamacare" that forces citizens to buy insurance or pay a tax"

Source: Christian Coalition Voter Guide 12-CC-q5a on Oct 31, 2012

Keep ObamaCare's prevention, treatment, & recovery services.

Warren signed keeping ObamaCare's prevention, treatment, & recovery services

Excerpts from Letter from 20 Senators to President Trump: Repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) with no clear plan for replacement will substantially worsen the opioid epidemic. Last year, Congress took important steps to address this national public health crisis, enacting two bipartisan laws to address the opioid epidemic and reform the way our health system treats mental health and substance use disorders.

The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act improved access to substance use disorder prevention, treatment, and recovery services. It promoted the use of best practices when prescribing opioid pain-killers, strengthening state prescription drug monitoring programs, and expanding access to the life-saving drug naloxone.

The 21st Century Cures Act also included critical mental health and substance use disorder reforms, strengthening enforcement of mental health parity laws, promoting the integration of physical and mental health care. Most importantly, the 21st Century Cures Act dedicated $1 billion in new grant funding, which will be essential to helping states provide prevention, treatment, and recovery services to patients These bipartisan advances will be fundamentally undermined by repeal of the ACA.

Opposing argument: (Warren, D-MA, in StatNews.com, 11/28/2016): Senator Elizabeth Warren railed against the 21st Century Cures, saying the bill had been "hijacked" by the pharmaceutical industry. "I cannot vote for this bill,'' Warren said. "I will fight it because I know the difference between compromise and extortion." The current legislation includes $500 million for the FDA, well below the amount Democrats had sought. Warren and Washington Senator Patty Murray have long argued that they would only support Cures legislation that included significant investment in basic medical research. While Warren said she supported many of the provisions, she called others "huge giveaways" to the drug industry.

Source: Letter Regarding Fighting the Opioid Crisis 17LTR-ACA on Feb 3, 2017

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