The high cost of health care sends millions of Americans into bankruptcy. Tens of thousands more die each year because of medical problems they can’t afford to treat or prevent.
In the richest nation on earth, none of us should be forced to forfeit the care we need. All Americans deserve health coverage—not merely a paper promise but a guarantee of affordable, accessible, high-quality services.
I support Medicare for All, including coverage for mental health and substance use treatment, prescription drugs, vision, dental, hearing, maternity, and long-term care. Such a system, as other countries have shown, saves money and saves lives.
We’ve made progress over the last decade. The Affordable Care Act prohibits insurance companies from discriminating against patients on the basis of preexisting conditions or gender; expands access to birth control and to preventive care, including breast- and cervical-cancer screenings; allows young people to remain on their parents’ plans until the age of 26; and requires insurers to devote more of our dollars to actual treatment, instead of paperwork or profit.
Yet those provisions, along with the rest of the law, are now in jeopardy. The Trump Administration and its allies in Congress have made repeated attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act while offering no plan to replace it.
Instead of undermining Americans’ health care, we should find ways to improve it. I’ll work with health-care providers, consumers, and other stakeholders to encourage innovation and cooperation, reduce medical errors, improve the use of information technology, minimize administrative expenses, and make prices more transparent.
In the state legislature, I led the fight to crack down on insurance companies that skirt their legal obligations; by doing so, we protected consumers and saved taxpayers millions of dollars. I voted to reduce Coloradans’ prescription-drug prices by pooling our purchasing power with other states. I worked to supply rural Coloradans and other underserved communities with greater access to care, by investing in local health clinics and expanding the use of telemedicine. And I authored measures to help seniors get the care they need—and live longer, healthier lives—in their own homes.
As the president and CEO of Mental Health Colorado, I led efforts to strengthen the enforcement of mental health parity and network adequacy laws, bring mental health professionals to more schools, and reduce the rate of suicide. My colleagues and I helped secure $68 million per year for the prevention and treatment of mental health and substance use disorders.