On the Issues

Advancing Healthcare as a Human Right

A new phenomenon has emerged in recent decades, in spite of tremendous medicinal innovation and progress, our citizens are dying not from poor health, or poor healthcare services-–they are dying from the cost of their healthcare. It will be my obligation as your representative to work to reverse this trend, because healthcare is a human right, not a privilege. Today, 50% of Americans report having neglected medical care or treatment for fiscal reasons; 65% of bankruptcies are directly tied to medical expenses; the United States spends more than twice as much as other developed nations, with comparatively worse patient outcomes.

While I support policies that move our nation toward the type of universal care afforded to citizens of many other nations, including neighboring Canada and Mexico, I believe we have an immediate duty to protect and strengthen President Barack Obama’s landmark Affordable Care Act (ACA). This 2010 law expanded access to health insurance to millions who did not have it before. It provided a solid framework within which to realize healthcare’s “Quintuple Aim”, first coined by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement in 2007: 1) Expand healthcare access to everyone, 2) Reduce costs of insurance and care, 3) Improve healthcare quality, 4) Improve the wellbeing of healthcare staff, 5) advance health equity. What we have done so far is a good beginning, but there is more to do.

I support:

  • Including a “public option” in the ACA marketplace: a high-quality government-run health insurance plan that would compete with the plans offered by private insurance companies. The plan would automatically enroll the uninsured, who could opt out if they choose. Similarly, people could choose to opt out of their employer-sponsored private insurance and opt into the government-run plan. It essentially is “Medicare for All Who Want It”, giving people access to government-run health insurance but not forcing them into it.
  • Making permanent the expanded federal subsidies for private insurance purchased on the ACA marketplace, and which ensured that nobody would pay more than 8.5% of their income on out-of-pocket medical costs. President Biden enacted these changes by signing the COVID-related American Rescue Plan Act in March 2021; these were important changes that we should make permanent, even as COVID recedes.
  • Allowing CMS (the federal office that runs Medicare and Medicaid) to leverage its formidable purchasing power to negotiate prices with drug companies and device manufacturers. Private insurers in the US typically follow the CMS lead, so if Congress allows CMS to negotiate, the lower costs will flow to everyone.
  • Backing our own Senator Klobuchar’s proposals to expand access to generic drugs, and to allow Americans to import lower-priced drugs from Canada.
  • Supporting passage of the Affordable Insulin Now Act, authored by Minnesota’s Representative Angie Craig, which would cap insulin costs at whichever is less, $35 monthly or 25% of an insurance plan’s negotiated rate.
  • Working to expand access to mental health services, with an emphasis on youth, addiction and underserved populations.
  • Enhancing programs already underway by passing the Resident Physician Shortage Act to ensure access to primary care for marginalized and underserved populations.
  • Support the rebasing of Medicare reimbursement rates, which improves financial reimbursements for hospitals serving Medicare patients.
PO Box 50024 Minneapolis, MN 55405

Contributions or gifts to Neighbors for Samuels are not tax deductible. Contributions from corporations, labor organization treasury funds, federal government contractors, and from any person contributing another person's funds are prohibited. Only U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents (“green card holders” residing in the U.S.) are eligible to contribute. An individual can contribute as much as $6,600 to Neighbors for Samuels ($3,300 for the primary election, and $3,300 for the general election). Married couples may together give a total of $13,200. Federal multi-candidate political action committees (PACs) can contribute as much as $10,000 ($5,000 for the primary election, and $5,000 for the general election). Federal law requires us to use our best efforts to collect and report the name, mailing address, occupation and name of employer of individuals whose contributions exceed $200 in an election cycle.