I believe universal health care coverage is the civil rights issue of our time. The need for safe, affordable health care is an issue that affects us all.
After nearly a century of effort, I proudly voted for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which was signed into law by President Obama on March 23, 2010. The new law is centered on building on what works in our current health system and fixing what is broken. It creates a regulated marketplace where individuals can purchase health care at affordable rates and where uninsured Americans can purchase subsidized insurance for themselves and their families. The law also expands Medicaid eligibility to millions of more lower-income families and eliminates the so-called "donut hole" or prescription drug coverage gap for seniors under Medicare's prescription drug program, making necessary medicines available to more of America's seniors.
The law improves quality and lowers costs for those who are currently insured and ends the discriminatory insurance industry practices like denying care because of a pre-existing medical condition and canceling your health coverage if you get sick. The law also requires health plans to provide free preventive care and screening, allows young people to stay on their parent's health plan until their 26th birthday, and provides access to an affordable way for small businesses to insure their employees.
I am steadfast advocate for a single-payer health care system. I am a proud co-sponsor of the United States Health Insurance Act, which will provide health care to all Americans by establishing a national single-payer health care system. I will continue to fight for single-payer health care system because I think it is only true way to make health care a right for every single American.
I believe that insurance providers should cover mental illnesses and addiction in the same way that they cover physical ailments. On October 3, 2008, Congress finally passed the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 and President Bush subsequently signed it into law. This crucial legislation was championed by the great Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone, who died tragically before he could see this legislation become law.