2020 election: Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg shares his views on current issues

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg.

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 Pete Buttigieg 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. In my mental health plan, I propose a $300 billion increase in funding for mental health. $100 billion of this will go to community innovation grants. We will empower communities most affected by mental illness and addiction to address the problem in their own way through 10-year grants that address policies or programs around prevention, care integration, and community. We will establish mental health parity for Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance, so they cover mental illness in the same way they cover chronic conditions like diabetes; increase the mental health workforce; provide grants for organizations to combat stigma around mental illness; and expand services for veterans.

Read what the other candidates have to say here. 

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 my drug pricing policy, I lay out a comprehensive plan to reduce prescription drug costs by holding the pharmaceutical industry accountable for responsible pricing and using the power of the federal government to lower costs. My administration will cap out-of-pocket spending on prescription drugs to $200 for seniors on Medicare, cap out-of-pocket spending on prescription drugs to $250 on the public insurance plan that we will offer under Medicare for All Who Want It, and make copayments zero for low-income people buying generic drugs on a public plan. We will empower the government to negotiate directly with insurance companies to lower prices, starting with critical drugs like insulin.

What do you believe is the biggest health care issue facing Americans? How would you solve it?

The biggest health care issue facing Americans is that too many of us can’t access or afford health care we need when we need it. I’ve proposed Medicare for All Who Want It, to ensure that everyone has access to an affordable health insurance option through a Medicare-like public plan. I have also proposed to limit premiums for insurance coverage bought through the ACA marketplace. My plan will cover out-of-pocket costs. My plan will protect patients by ending surprise billing and capping out-of-network provider rates. The difference between my plan and others is my plan will achieve universal coverage without forcing Americans off private plans and without raising taxes on the middle class.

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?

Yes. The Medicare for All Who Want It public alternative will help America reach universal coverage by ensuring all Americans have an affordable insurance option. The public alternative will provide the same essential health benefits as those currently available on the marketplaces and ensure that everyone has access to high-quality, comprehensive coverage. The plan will automatically enroll individuals in affordable coverage if they are eligible for it, while those eligible for subsidized coverage will have a simple enrollment option. A backstop fund will reimburse health care providers for unpaid care to patients who are uninsured.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 2020 election: presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg shares views on issues