Issue Position: Making Sure Everyone Has Access to Quality and Affordable Healthcare
In the face of steadily increasing premiums and the skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs, Americans are continually faced with the challenge of finding and keeping affordable health care.
Today, about 47 million Americans- including 3 million from New York- are uninsured, and millions of families and small businesses are struggling to pay for health insurance. The health care situation in our country must change, and I believe every American should have an affordable, quality health care option.
Health Care Affordability:
All individuals, families and businesses deserve to have the ability to buy into a health care plan at a rate that they can afford. Competition in the private insurance industry is critical to reign in health care costs and improve quality of care for the patient.
Too many small business owners are unable to offer health care to their employees because of the high costs. I support providing tax credits to small business owners to allow them to help insure their employees and allowing small businesses to pool their employees for lower rates.
Taking Care of Seniors:
I believe that we have a responsibility to improve the prescription drug benefit so that seniors can afford the medications they need to lead active lives.
I was a proud sponsor of H.R. 4, the Medicare Prescription Drug Negotiation Act, which fixes the Medicare prescription drug program by allowing the government to negotiate for lower prescription drug prices. I strongly support closing the "donut hole" gap in coverage, because seniors on a fixed income cannot afford the exorbitant prices.
Finally, we must end the giveaways to the prescription drug companies.
Under the Children's Health and Medicare Protection Act (CHAMP Act), Medicare services improved for all seniors. The CHAMP Act increases access to first-rate doctors, provides free preventative tests, therapy services and vaccines, and makes Medicare solvent for future generations. The CHAMP Act also eliminated the Medicare Part D late-enrollment tax on low income seniors.
Long-Term Investments for a Healthier America:
I support stem-cell research, and was proud to be a co-sponsor of H.R.3, the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act, legislation that overturns the current ban on expanding stem cell research. America should be the world leader in this field, and New York scientists should lead the way. This promising research could save millions of lives by providing cures for juvenile diabetes, Alzheimer's disease and cancers.
I support increasing funding for medical research so that America stays as the world leader in medical procedures. I believe we must increase our support for students entering science, engineering and research fields by providing financial incentives for America's brightest students to enter these fields.
Children's Health Care
Congress recently passed the Children's Health and Medicare Protection Act (CHAMP Act), which would insure eleven million American children, including over half a million in New York State. I believe the government has a responsibility to insure every child in America, and Congress must work with the states to achieve this goal. I am a co-sponsor of the Healthy Kids Act (H.R. 2147) which provides a pathway for insuring every child.