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 Kamala Harris 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. Mental health care, just like any other form of health care, is a fundamental human right, and it’s past time we start acting like it in this country. That’s why I introduced my Medicare For All plan (https://kamalaharris.org/healthcare/), which will ensure comprehensive care for every American, allow people to choose between private and public Medicare plans, and force insurance companies to play by our rules. It will cover mental health and substance use disorder treatment.
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?
In America, nobody should have to worry about how they’ll afford their prescription drugs and still put food on the table. That’s a reality for too many Americans right now, and it has to change. As president, I’ll require pharmaceutical companies to set fair prices for prescription drugs and tax profits made from abusive drug prices at a rate of 100 percent. These profits will go back directly to consumers. And if Congress refuses to act within 100 days, my administration will investigate price-gouging by pharma companies on and take executive action to lower the cost of their drugs.
What do you believe is the biggest health care issue facing Americans? How would you solve it?
The biggest health care crisis looming over America right now are rising costs and Republicans attempts to invalidate the Affordable Care Act and all its life-saving protections without any replacement. There’s no shortage of health care issues we must address — and I firmly believe my Medicare For All plan is the best way to do that — but the magnitude of the threat posed by Republicans’ lawsuit can’t be overstated. I’ve fought tooth-and-nail as both Attorney General and as a senator to end these senseless attacks on the ACA, and I’ll continue to do it as president as we build on that progress.
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?
Health care is a fundamental human right, and my Medicare For All plan would ensure comprehensive care for every American, allowing people to choose between private and public Medicare plans, and forcing insurance companies to play by our rules. Its 10-year phase-in period would decrease the price tag and minimize disruption. And my plan would exempt households making below $100,000 from tax hikes, and instead tax certain Wall Street transactions to cover that change. In total, we’ll reduce our country’s health care costs and lower Americans’ out-of-pocket costs, all while extending coverage to every American.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris shares views on current issues