Cory Booker on Health Care



Ok to consider single-payer, but I'm not behind it

During Barack Obama's presidency, Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) could only find 62 other House Democrats willing to co-sponsor his single-payer health care proposal--which would expand Medicare to cover every American. But now that Speaker Paul Ryan's House health care bill has imploded, Conyers's team has already signed up 78 co-sponsors for the exact same single-payer bill. And Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) announced over the weekend he'd be launching a new Medicare-for-All initiative.

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.

Source: Jeff Stein in Vox.com, "TrumpCare dead" , Mar 29, 2017

Repealing ObamaCare hurts working-class

Q: You have been critical of the Republican approach to repealing & replacing ObamaCare. Don't Democrats have an obligation to help fix this bill?

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.

Source: CNN "State of the Union" 2017 interview with Jake Tapper , Mar 12, 2017

Repealing ObamaCare with no replacement just hurts Americans

Q: The Republicans are going to repeal the Affordable Care Act--in some form. Democrats think the GOP will get a political penalty for repealing and not replacing it.

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.

Source: CBS Face the Nation 2017 interview by John Dickerson , Jan 8, 2017

ObamaCare is a vital step in the right direction

This is unacceptable, and I firmly support the Affordable Care Act as a vital step in the right direction. I believe that the ACA has begun, and will continue, to significantly transform our health care landscape. For example, right here in New Jersey, the Affordable Care Act has closed the Medicare donut hole for 109,000 Medicare beneficiaries and will save middle class New Jerseyans more than $1,000 per year by 2019.

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.

Source: 2013-2014 New Jersey Senate campaign web CoryBooker.com , Nov 3, 2013

ObamaCare needs to be improved, but is helping people now

Booker applauded Obama's Affordable Care Act--better known as "ObamaCare"--and chastised Republicans in Washington for fighting it to the point of forcing a partial shutdown of the federal government. He said the health care overhaul is helping people who have children with diseases that would have been denied coverage under the old system. "ObamaCare needs to be improved, and what we should be doing in Washington is working together (on it)," Booker said. "These are real people's lives."
Source: Newark Star-Ledger coverage of 2013 N.J. Senate debate , Oct 5, 2013

Control healthcare cost; no comment on single-payer

Source: Politico.com coverage of 2013 N.J. Senate debate , Aug 6, 2013

We need a national solution and also local solutions

More recently dealing with health care crisis, people are saying we've got to find a National solution. I agree with that. But we've been finding local solutions.
Source: Interview at Fairfield University by News 64 , Feb 21, 2009

Newark Rx: affordable medications for uninsured Newarkers

The health care challenges of Newark and all American cities will continue until federal action is taken, but we will not take this challenge lying down and today we acknowledge a win in the battle for health care justice in Newark.

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.

Source: 2009 State of the City Address at Newark Symphony Hall , Feb 9, 2009

Keep ObamaCare's prevention, treatment, & recovery services.

Booker signed keeping ObamaCare's prevention, treatment, & recovery services

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.

Source: Letter Regarding Fighting the Opioid Crisis 17LTR-ACA on Feb 3, 2017

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Other big-city mayors on Health Care: Cory Booker on other issues:

Tom Barrett (D,Milwaukee)
Bill de Blasio (D,NYC)
Rahm Emanuel (D,Chicago)
Bob Filner (D,San Diego)
Steven Fulop (D,Jersey City)
Eric Garcetti (D,Los Angeles)
Mike Rawlings (D,Dallas)
Marty Walsh (D,Boston)

Former Mayors:
Rocky Anderson (I,Salt Lake City)
Tom Barrett (D,Milwaukee,WI)
Mike Bloomberg (I,New York City)
Cory Booker (D,Newark,NJ)
Jerry Brown (D,Oakland,CA)
Julian Castro (D,San Antonio,TX)
Rudy Giuliani (R,New York City)
Phil Gordon (D,Phoenix)
Tom Menino (D,Boston)
Dennis Kucinch (D,Cleveland,OH)
Michael Nutter (D,Philadelphia)
Sarah Palin (R,Wasilla,AK)
Annise Parker (D,Houston)
Jerry Sanders (R,San Diego)
Antonio Villaraigosa (D,Los Angeles)
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Page last updated: Sep 12, 2018