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 Elizabeth Warren 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 addition to the right to physical health care, we must prioritize affordable, high-quality mental health services. Despite the widespread need for these services, many Americans are denied coverage. Medicare for All will fix that. But in the transition to Medicare for All, my Behavioral Health Coverage Transparency Act would hold insurers accountable for providing adequate mental health benefits and ensure Americans receive the protections they are guaranteed by law. In the Senate, I secured increased funding for the Mental Health Block Grant, which supports early intervention for children experiencing serious mental illness for the first time.
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?
Prescription drug prices are crushing families. My Affordable Drug Manufacturing Act would allow the Department of Health and Human Services to step in and manufacture affordable generic drugs where the market has failed. Further, Medicare and Medicare for All should aggressively negotiate with drug companies. We should crack down on rampant abuse of the patent and regulatory system. And we should import drugs from countries that sell the same medicines and meet strong safety standards but that charge their citizens a fraction of our costs.
What do you believe is the biggest health care issue facing Americans? How would you solve it?
I have spent my whole career studying why families go broke and found that one of the top reasons for that is medical problems -- even for families that have insurance. Private insurance companies raked in $23 billion last year while premiums skyrocket and prescription drug copays are going through the roof. It’s not right, and it’s not sustainable. Medicare for All should be the law of the land. And under Medicare for All, hard-working families across this country will see their health care costs go down.
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 believe Medicare for All should be the law of the land and that is why I’m a co-sponsor of the Medicare for All legislation in the United States Senate. I spent my whole career studying why families go broke, and came to find that one of the top reasons for personal bankruptcies is health crises and medical expenses — even for families with insurance. Medicare for All should be the law of the land.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren shares views on current issues