Cory Booker on Health Care
Mayor of Newark; N.J. Senator; 2020 presidential contender (withdrawn)
BOOKER: We're going to use Medicaid, Medicare to negotiate down prices, taking patents away from companies that unjustly raise their prices, creating a law that you cannot raise the price of drugs higher in this country than you're selling in others.
As a person who has an ideal, I know we cannot sacrifice progress on the altar of purity, because people in my community, they need help right now. They have high blood pressure right now. They have unaffordable insulin right now.
We as Democrats can begin to show that we cannot only stake and stand our ground, but find common ground. And we cannot lose it by the way we talk about each other or demonize and degrade each other. We can walk and chew gum at the same time. If I am the leader, I will work towards the ideal of health insurance, health coverage being a right for all Americans. But every single day, I'll join with other Democrats to make progress happen in our nation for the people that are struggling and suffering today.
But while Sanders and progressive Democrats clamor for a more aggressive approach, some Senate Democrats expressed skepticism about the need to go that far, that quickly. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) wouldn't get behind a single-payer health care system, instead calling it "one of those options that must be considered" in an email to Vox.
BOOKER: That would be great if they were coming with open hearts and saying, "hey, this is not perfect, let's fix it." Even before the Affordable Care Act, I was the mayor of a city dealing with health care costs. They were going up significantly. So don't put this all on this ACA. I don't think you will find a Democrat or Republican who wouldn't honestly tell you that things weren't perfect before. And what we're saying in the Democratic Party is, "let's build upon it, let's fix it."
Q: Don't you have an obligation to join Republicans and try to improve the bill?
BOOKER: That's really where we are. The Republicans cannot just force this down our throats. It's going to knock a lot of folks off, hurt long-term care, hurt good working-class folks. Their political strategy is bad politics. But, deeper than that, it is bad policy and bad process.
BOOKER: The effort to repeal ObamaCare right now without a plan to replace it, this shouldn't be about politics. This is about real people in America who will be hurt immediately. The American Medical Association, which was against ObamaCare, says, "Don't repeal this without having a replacement plan." You have doctors' associations, nurses' associations, hospital associations all screaming, even some Republicans, "You're going to repeal this law & plunge many Americans into health crisis?" This is akin to shoving someone off a cliff and as they're falling down saying, "Don't worry. We're going to figure this out before you get to the bottom." And so my plan is very simple: Put up your plan. Show the American people. Donald Trump says, "we're going to have health care and it's going to be terrific". Well, show me what that is.
In Newark, we know that investing up front can produce great gains in the long run, and that the opposite is equally and sadly true. As Mayor I did not wait for the federal government to improve health access for Newarkers.
I am truly pleased tonight to announce Newark Rx, to begin to combat the rising costs of prescription drugs. Newark Rx will create immediate access to affordable medications for thousands of uninsured Newark residents. Newark Rx is the creation of my office, Heinz Family Philanthropies, PhRMA, and other innovative partners. Several pharmaceutical manufacturers are contributing funding and donating free--FREE--medications for the uninsured. I know through the amazing work of Teresa Heinz and Jeff Lewis of Heinz Family Philanthropies that more partners will be added and more people who need medications will get them.I am honored tonight to be joined my friend, Chris Heinz, a member of one of America's leading political and philanthropic families.
Excerpts from Letter from 20 Senators to President Trump: Repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) with no clear plan for replacement will substantially worsen the opioid epidemic. Last year, Congress took important steps to address this national public health crisis, enacting two bipartisan laws to address the opioid epidemic and reform the way our health system treats mental health and substance use disorders.
The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act improved access to substance use disorder prevention, treatment, and recovery services. It promoted the use of best practices when prescribing opioid pain-killers, strengthening state prescription drug monitoring programs, and expanding access to the life-saving drug naloxone.
The 21st Century Cures Act also included critical mental health and substance use disorder reforms, strengthening enforcement of mental health parity laws, promoting the integration of physical and mental health care. Most importantly, the 21st Century Cures Act dedicated $1 billion in new grant funding, which will be essential to helping states provide prevention, treatment, and recovery services to patients These bipartisan advances will be fundamentally undermined by repeal of the ACA.
Opposing argument: (Warren, D-MA, in StatNews.com, 11/28/2016): Senator Elizabeth Warren railed against the 21st Century Cures, saying the bill had been "hijacked" by the pharmaceutical industry. "I cannot vote for this bill,'' Warren said. "I will fight it because I know the difference between compromise and extortion." The current legislation includes $500 million for the FDA, well below the amount Democrats had sought. Warren and Washington Senator Patty Murray have long argued that they would only support Cures legislation that included significant investment in basic medical research. While Warren said she supported many of the provisions, she called others "huge giveaways" to the drug industry.
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Senate races 2021-22:
AK: Incumbent Lisa Murkowski(R)
vs.Challenger Kelly Tshibaka(R)
vs.2020 candidate Al Gross(D)
AL: Incumbent Richard Shelby(R) vs.U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks(R) vs.Ambassador Lynda Blanchard(R) vs.Katie Britt(R) vs.Judge Jessica Taylor(R) vs.Brandaun Dean(D) vs.
AR: Incumbent John Boozman(R)
vs.Candidate Dan Whitfield(D)
AZ: Incumbent Mark Kelly(D)
vs.CEO Jim Lamon(R) vs.Blake Masters(R)
vs.A.G. Mark Brnovich(R) vs.Mick McGuire(R)
CA: Incumbent Alex Padilla(D)
vs.2018 Senate candidate James Bradley(R)
vs.State Rep. Jerome Horton(D)
CO: Incumbent Michael Bennet(D)
CT: Incumbent Richard Blumenthal(D)
vs.Challenger Joe Visconti(R)
vs.2018 & 2020 House candidate John Flynn(R)
FL: Incumbent Marco Rubio(R)
vs.U.S.Rep. Val Demings(D)
vs.U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson(D)
GA: Incumbent Raphael Warnock(D)
vs.Navy vet Latham Saddler(R)
HI: Incumbent Brian Schatz(D)
vs.Former State Rep. Cam Cavasso(R ?)
IA: Incumbent Chuck Grassley(R)
vs.State Sen. Jim Carlin(R)
vs.Former U.S. Rep IA-1 Abby Finkenauer(D)
ID: Incumbent Mike Crapo(R)
IL: Incumbent Tammy Duckworth(D)
vs.U.S.Rep. Adam Kinzinger(? R)
IN: Incumbent Todd Young(R)
vs.Challenger Haneefah Abdul-Khaaliq(D)
vs.Psychologist Valerie McCray(D)
KS: Incumbent Jerry Moran(R)
KY: Incumbent Rand Paul(R)
vs.State Rep Charles Booker(D)
LA: Incumbent John Kennedy(R)
MD: Incumbent Chris Van Hollen(D)
MO: Incumbent Roy Blunt(R)
vs.Eric Greitens(R) vs.Scott Sifton(D)
vs.Eric Schmitt(R) vs.Lucas Kunce(D)
vs.Mark McClosky(R) vs.Vicky Hartzler(R)
vs.Tim Shepard(D) vs.Billy Long(R)
NC: Incumbent Richard Burr(R,retiring)
vs.Ted Budd(R) vs.Pat McCrory(R)
vs.Cheri Beasley(D) vs.Rett Newton(D)
ND: Incumbent John Hoeven(R)
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NH: Incumbent Maggie Hassan(D)
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NV: Incumbent Catherine Cortez Masto(D)
NY: Incumbent Chuck Schumer(D)
OH: Incumbent Rob Portman(R,retiring)
Bernie Moreno(R) vs.Tim Ryan(D)
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OK: Incumbent James Lankford(R)
OR: Incumbent Ron Wyden(D)
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PA: Incumbent Pat Toomey(R,retiring)
vs.Everett Stern(R) vs.Jeff Bartos(R)
vs.Val Arkoosh(D) vs.Carla Sands(R)
vs.John Fetterman(D) vs.Malcolm Kenyatta(D)
vs.Kathy Barnette(R) vs.Sharif Street(D)
vs.Conor Lamb(D) vs.Sean Parnell(R)
vs.Craig Snyder(R) vs.Mehmet Oz(R)
SC: Incumbent Tim Scott(R)
vs.State Rep. Krystle Matthews(D)
SD: Incumbent John Thune(R)
vs.State Rep. Billie Sutton(? D)
UT: Incumbent Mike Lee(R) vs.Allen Glines(D)
vs.Austin Searle(D) vs.Evan McMullin(I)
VT: Incumbent Patrick Leahy(D)
vs.Scott Milne(? R)
WA: Incumbent Patty Murray(D)
vs.Challenger Tiffany Smiley(R)
WI: Incumbent Ron Johnson(R) vs.Tom Nelson(D)
vs.Sarah Godlewski(D) vs.Alex Lasry(D)
vs.Chris Larson(D) vs.Mandela Barnes(D)
Senate Votes (analysis)