MORE ON lIZ'S PLAN FOR AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE
Health care is very personal for me. My dad was very sick last year, and he was fortunate to have access to life-saving treatment, paid for by Medicare. We sat by his bedside in Indianapolis for nearly a month while he was in a coma. But we didn’t have to worry about our family going bankrupt to pay for his care, because Medicare was there for him. And I didn’t have to worry about losing my job, because I was able to take paid family and medical leave.
In the United States of America, in 2017, not a single person should suffer or die because he or she cannot afford essential health care. And no one should go bankrupt or lose a home because they can't pay their medical bills. To say otherwise is cruel, selfish, and un-American. We take care of our own.
I am appalled that some members of Congress want to take away health care and nursing home care from 22 million people, including 270,000 Hoosiers. In Indiana, 4700 veterans would lose Medicaid coverage if the ACA is repealed. Repealing the ACA would drive up health care costs with higher premiums, deductibles, and a higher cost for prescription drugs. Not only that, it will increase the number of uninsured, and it will be a job-killer for those working in the health care industry. According to one analysis, more than 18,000 jobs in Indiana will be lost if the effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act succeeds. Repeal would be especially devastating for rural hospitals in our district.
We need to move forward, not back, in the battle to expand access to affordable, quality health care. A solid majority of the American people believe that the federal government should insure, and ensure, universal health care coverage. That is why I support the Medicare for All Act of 2017, which the Democrats introduced in Congress this year. It is the only proposal on the table that will accomplish the three essential goals of universal coverage, quality care, and affordability. This legislation would gradually expand eligibility for Medicare and allow people to buy into the system during the transition to universal coverage.
Don't let anyone tell you this can't happen. It is a proposal that will bring down the cost of care, make our communities and families more secure, and make us more competitive with countries that spend much less money and get better care. In a Medicare for All program, no one will have to pay $700 for an EpiPen. Drug companies won't be able to get away with price-gouging any more, because the Medicare program can negotiate with drug companies and bring down these outrageous costs. Americans and Hoosiers deserve nothing less.
And don't let anyone tell you this isn't realistic. We can win the war for universal coverage and also fight and win the battles along the way that get us there. That is why I also support the bipartisan effort of Senators Patty Murray and Lamar Alexander to stabilize the health care market while we fight for meaningful reform. It's clear that "Repeal and Replace" was all hat and no cattle. We need to move forward, not back, and that's why this bipartisan deal is essential.
Medicare isn't perfect. I recently spoke with a man who told me about having to pay thousands of dollars per month for his wife's life-threatening chronic condition that Medicare will not fully cover. No one should go bankrupt paying hospital bills. We can reform Medicare to bring down the cost of care, while expanding coverage to every American.