WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), a member of the Senate Finance Health Care Subcommittee, has continued his call for Congress to work in a bipartisan way to improve upon the landmark Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, solidifying the truth that affordable, quality health care is a right and not a privilege that all Americans should have access to regardless of income or zip code.
“I believe health care is a human right and that universal coverage is absolutely essential. We should have seamless quality health care, affordable to all people. Every American should have full coverage from pre-natal to death. Simply having coverage is not enough. It must be affordable and the quality of the health care, including protections for patients, cannot be compromised.
“I have long supported a public option in the health exchanges that would increase competition by forcing insurance companies to put patients before profits and help lower costs. I recently introduced a bill (the Keeping Health Insurance Affordable Act, S. 1511) to improve the Affordable Care Act that would add in a public option. I also supported a public option when we were first debating the Affordable Care Act. I think our health system would be stronger today if such a plan had been included.
“I have long supported creating a system to expand Medicare to individuals age 55-64. I cosponsored such a bill in 2009 with nearly one-third of the Senate and I have cosponsored a similar bill this year (the Medicare at 55 Act, S. 1742). This is an age group currently discriminated under our funding laws because they pay three times what younger people pay for the same coverage. I am also reviewing legislation that would expand Medicaid, allowing anyone to buy-in to the current system.
“I believe a single-payer system is a way of getting to universal coverage. I am reviewing Senator Sanders’ legislation, among others that would establish single-payer systems. Health care should be a right and not a privilege in this country, so I want to be confident that there would be sufficient resources backing such a system so that the quality of our health care is not diminished. Any plan I support must make sure women and children get the quality health care they need and that individuals with disabilities will get the specialized care that they need. I also want to make sure that our cutting edge, world class health care continues to be the envy of the world. Every American should have full coverage – affordable, quality coverage — from pre-natal to death. I am committed to getting us there.”