We asked presidential candidates questions about a variety of issues facing the country. Their answers will be published over the coming weeks. This is what Democratic candidate Steve Bullock had to say about health care.
Is more funding needed for mental health care in America? If yes, what amount and how should it be allocated? Where should that money come from?
Yes. For starters, approximately 10 percent of children and adolescents could use assistance for a mental illnesses, yet only 20 percent of those are identified and receiving services. Early identification and intervention is key. We need to increase funding opportunities for school-based mental health screening and interventions, anti-bullying programs, and de-stigmatization efforts. Even beyond children, there must be access to mental as well as physical care, urban and rural. Medicaid expansion, health parity laws, preventative care, and increased funding and support for tele-health options for areas underserved by mental health professionals.
How would you address rising prescription drug costs, specifically for medications that are necessary for people to live, such as insulin and mental health medications?
Americans pay more for prescription drugs than in any other country, yet the federal government, the largest purchaser of prescription drugs, cannot even negotiate for fair prices. Price negotiation is the first step. Beyond that, we also need to consider price indexing and determine how to safely import prescription drugs from abroad.
What do you believe is the biggest health care issue facing Americans? How would you solve it?
Access and affordability. Too many Americans either don’t have access to quality health care or they simply cannot afford it. I believe that access to healthcare shouldn’t depend on the size of your paycheck — it should be a right for all. As president, I would increase accessibility and affordability by providing a public option for Americans who want to buy in; allowing the federal government to negotiate drug prices; automatically enrolling eligible people in Medicaid; and ending surprise billing and out of network charges.
Do you support a public health insurance option for all Americans? If yes, do you support the elimination of private health care in favor of a government-run plan, or do you support an option where Americans can choose a public or private plan? If no, why?
I support a public option to improve health care access and drive down costs. Your family’s ability to see a good doctor shouldn’t depend on which zip code you’re in — it should be a right for all.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Democratic presidential candidate Steve Bullock shares views on current issues