John Delaney on Health Care

Democratic candidate for President; U.S. Rep from MD-6


Medicare-for-All creates a two-tier market for healthcare

Sen. Bernie SANDERS: Medicare-for-all is comprehensive -- it covers all healthcare needs. For senior citizens it will finally include dental care, hearing aids and eyeglasses.

DELANEY: The bill that Senator Sanders drafted, by definition will lower quality in healthcare, because it says specifically that the rates will be the same as current Medicare rates. And the data is clear, Medicare does not cover the cost of healthcare, it covers 80% of the costs of healthcare in this country. And private insurance covers 120%, so if you start underpaying all the healthcare providers, you're going to create a two tier market where wealthy people buy their healthcare with cash, and the union people will have that healthcare plan taken away; they will be forced into an underfunded system.

SANDERS: Hospitals will save substantial sums of money because they're not going to be spending a fortune doing billing and other bureaucratic things.

DELANEY: I've done the math, it doesn't add up.

Source: July Democratic Primary debate (first night in Detroit) , Jul 30, 2019

Don't be party of subtraction; don't take healthcare away

Sen. Bernie SANDERS: Tonight in America, 87 million Americans are uninsured or underinsured, but the health care industry made $100 billion in profits last year.

Rep. Delaney: We can create a universal health care system to give everyone basic health care for free, and I have a proposal to do it. But we don't have to go around and be the party of subtraction, and telling half the country, who has private health insurance, that their health insurance is illegal. It'll underfund the industry, many hospitals will close, and it's bad policy.

SANDERS: The fact is, tens of millions of people lose their health insurance every single year when they change jobs or their employer changes that insurance. If you want stability in the health care system, if you want a system which gives you freedom of choice with regard to a doctor or a hospital, the answer is to get rid of the profiteering of the drug companies and the insurance companies, move to Medicare-for-all.

Source: July Democratic Primary debate (first night in Detroit) , Jul 30, 2019

Math is wrong on Medicare for All

Sen. Bernie SANDERS: On Medicare-for-All, hospitals will save substantial sums of money because they're not going to be spending a fortune doing billing and the other bureaucratic things that they have to do today.

DELANEY: I've done the math, it doesn't add up.

SANDERS: Maybe you did that and made money off of healthcare, but our job is to run a nonprofit healthcare system. [America will save] $500 billion a year by ending all of the incredible complexities of health insurance companies.

DELANEY: His math is wrong. It's been well-documented that if all the bills were paid at Medicare rate, which I think it's in section 1,200 of their bill, then many hospitals in this country would close. Why do we have to be so extreme? Why can't we just give everyone health care as a right, and allow them to have choice? I'm starting to think this is not about health care. This is an anti-private-sector strategy.

Source: July Democratic Primary debate (first night in Detroit) , Jul 30, 2019

BetterCare: I understand the medical business

I'm the only one on this stage who actually has experience in the health care business. The public option is great, but it doesn't go far enough. I'm proposing universal health care, where everyone gets health care as a basic human right for free, but they have choices. My plan, BetterCare, is fully paid for without raising middle class tax options.
Source: July Democratic Primary debate (first night in Detroit) , Jul 30, 2019

Keep what's working and fix what's broken

Q [to Rep. O'Rourke]: Would you replace private insurance?

Rep. Beto O'ROURKE: No. Our plan says that if you're insufficiently insured, we enroll you in Medicare. But if your health care plan works for you and your family, you're able to keep it.

Mayor Bill DE BLASIO: You've got to start by acknowledging the system is not working for people. Why are you defending private insurance?

Rep. John DELANEY: 100 million Americans say they like their private health insurance. I think we should be the party that keeps what's working and fixes what's broken. I mean, doesn't that make sense? We should give everyone in this country health care as a basic human right for free, full stop. But we should also give them the option to buy private insurance. Why do we have to stand for taking away something from people?

Source: June Democratic Primary debate (first night in Miami) , Jun 26, 2019

Medicare-for-All would negatively impact hospitals

If you go to every hospital in this country and you ask them one question, which is how would it have been for you last year if every one of your bills were paid at the Medicare rate? Every single hospital administrator said they would close. The Medicare for all bill requires payments to stay at current Medicare rates. To some extent, we're supporting a bill that will have every hospital closing.
Source: June Democratic Primary debate (first night in Miami) , Jun 26, 2019

Create public option but let people opt out

I believe health care should be a right of every American. We need universal health care. Having a government-only solution to health care is not the right answer. there's no evidence to suggest that if the government was the only payer of health care that we'd ever actually pay the cost. And that would result in limited access and limited quality. I've got a proposal to provide universal health care to every American. It creates a new system from when you're born to 65. You get it as a right of citizenship. But if you don't want it, you can opt out, get a small tax credit, or you can buy a supplemental system. And it's fully paid for by eliminating the corporate deductibility of health care.
Source: CNN Town Hall on 2020 Democratic presidential primary , Mar 10, 2019

Supports universal care, not Medicare-for-All

In an interview with CNBC, Delaney said he supports creating a universal health care system, but not Medicare for All.
Source: Axios.com "What you need to know about 2020" , Feb 27, 2019

No Medicare for All, but yes universal health care

Source: PBS News hour on 2020 Presidential hopefuls , Feb 4, 2019

Let 55-year-olds buy into Medicare

The ACA, in my view, has two good parts and one good idea implemented badly. The first good part is that it has expanded Medicaid for some of our poorest citizens.

The second good part of the ACA consists of adjustments that were made to improve coverage and change incentives. One excellent example is the rule that people with preexisting conditions can no longer be excluded from coverage.

The crucial mistake was the way the health care exchanges were structured. If you're individually insured, or uninsured, and you don't qualify for Medicaid, you can buy insurance on the exchange. But in an effort to protect people between the ages of 55 and 65, the ACA mandated that the exchanges could charge them only up to three times the cost of the cheapest policy on offer. Did someone forget to do the math? Health care costs for people in that age range are, on average, six times what they are for young, healthy people. My solution would be to let people over 55 buy into Medicare.

Source: The Right Answer, by Rep. John Delaney, p. 39-41 , May 29, 2018

Allow Medicare to negotiate pharmaceutical pricing

I would allow the government to negotiate pricing with pharmaceutical companies on drugs purchased for Medicare. Think about it: one of the largest purchasers of medication on the planet, the US government, cannot negotiate prices for the drugs it buys. This is utterly ridiculous; can you imagine how Walmart would respond if told it couldn't negotiate prices with its suppliers? But thanks to the relentless lobbying by powerful drug companies, that's the situation we find ourselves in. As a result, the government is transferring billions of dollars each year from the American taxpayer to the shareholders of the pharmaceutical companies.

This scandalous arrangement is unacceptable, and the sooner we change it, the better. We should add more "pay for results only" regimes for newly innovative, very expensive drugs. This would allow a handsome payment if a drug worked on a patient, and nothing if it didn't.

Source: The Right Answer, by Rep. John Delaney, p. 42 , May 29, 2018

Costs would rise too quickly in a single-payer system

In late 2017, I met with a group of Democratic Party activists in Mason City, Iowa. One of them told me straight up that "any Democrat who will not commit to a single-payer health care system is not going to get my support."

I took a few minutes to explain my concerns about a single-payer system--in my view, costs would rise too quickly, and such a system might actually result in patients having worse care than they would have otherwise. I went on to describe my fix for the health care system, which begins with allowing Americans over the age of 55 to get Medicare.

"There's no question every single person in America should have health care," I told her. "That should be the uncompromising values statement of the Democratic Party, but we need to have a really thoughtful debate about how we get there." This point had exactly zero impact. For her, single-payer was a litmus test, These kinds of litmus tests are a real impediment to progress.

Source: The Right Answer, by Rep. John Delaney, p.130-1 , May 29, 2018

ObamaCare ensures access to affordable quality health care

The Affordable Care Act is critical in ensuring families' access to affordable and quality health care. Here in Maryland, the ACA will save the state $829 million and cut the number of Marylanders living without health insurance in half by 2020. Nationwide, Americans are already seeing some of the benefits from health care reform. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, nearly 3.6 million people with Medicare saved $2.1 billion on their prescription drugs in 2011.

However, one of the problems with the ACA is that it does not do enough to address the long-term costs of the health care system. It is a testament to our health care development that Americans are living longer than ever, but the costs associated with healthcare necessarily increase. I will fight attempts to repeal this landmark legislation, but I believe it is necessary to refine the ACA to create a framework that will lower long-term costs.

Source: 2012 House campaign website, delaney2012.com, "Issues" , Nov 6, 2012

Opposes repealing ObamaCare.

Delaney opposes the CC Voters Guide question on ObamaCare

Christian Coalition publishes a number of special voter educational materials including the Christian Coalition Voter Guides, which provide voters with critical information about where candidates stand on important faith and family issues. The Christian Coalition Voters Guide summarizes candidate stances on the following topic: "Repealing "Obamacare" that forces citizens to buy insurance or pay a tax"

Source: Christian Coalition Voter Guide 12-CC-q5a on Oct 31, 2012

Opposes repealing ObamaCare.

Delaney opposes the PVS survey question on ObamaCare

Project Vote Smart infers candidate issue stances on key topics by summarizing public speeches and public statements. Congressional candidates are given the opportunity to respond in detail; about 11% did so in the 2012 races.

Project Vote Smart summarizes candidate stances on the following topic: 'Health Care: Do you support repealing the 2010 Affordable Care Act?'

Source: Project Vote Smart 12-PVS-q5 on Aug 30, 2012

Sponsored merging Alzheimers diagnosis and care benefit.

Delaney co-sponsored HOPE for Alzheimer's Act

Congressional Summary:The purpose of this Act is to increase diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease and related dementias, leading to better care and outcomes for Americans living with Alzheimer's disease and related dementias. Congress makes the following findings:

  1. As many as half of the estimated 5.2 million Americans with Alzheimer's disease have never received a diagnosis.
  2. An early and documented diagnosis and access to care planning services leads to better outcomes for individuals with Alzheimer's disease.
  3. Combining the existing Medicare benefits of a diagnostic evaluation and care planning into a single package of services would help ensure that individuals receive an appropriate diagnosis as well as critical information about the disease and available care options.

Proponent's argument for bill: (The Alzheimer's Association, alz.org). The "Health Outcomes, Planning, and Education (HOPE) for Alzheimer's Act" (S.709/H.R. 1507) is one of the Alzheimer's Association's top federal priorities for the 113th Congress. The HOPE for Alzheimer's Act would improve diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease and increase access to information on care and support for newly diagnosed individuals and their families. It would also ensure that an Alzheimer's or dementia diagnosis is documented in the individual's medical record.

Source: S.709/H.R. 1507 13-H1507 on Apr 11, 2013

GOP can't beat ObamaCare, so they pretend it's a "disaster".

Delaney voted NAY Full Repeal of ObamaCare

Heritage Action Summary: This vote would fully repeal ObamaCare.

Heritage Foundation recommendation to vote YES: (2/3/2015): ObamaCare creates $1.8 trillion in new health care spending and uses cuts to Medicare spending to help pay for some of it. Millions of Americans already have lost, and more likely will lose, their coverage because of ObamaCare. Many Americans have not been able to keep their doctors as insurers try to offset the added costs of ObamaCare by limiting the number of providers in their networks. In spite of the promise, the law increases the cost of health coverage.

Secretary of Labor Robert Reich recommendation to vote NO: (robertreich.org 11/22/2013): Having failed to defeat the Affordable Care Act, Republicans are now hell-bent on destroying the ObamaCare in Americans' minds, using the word "disaster" whenever mentioning the Act, and demand its repeal. Democrats [should] meet the Republican barrage with three larger truths:

  1. The wreck of private insurance: Ours has been the only healthcare system in the world designed to avoid sick people. For-profit insurers have spent billions finding and marketing their policies to healthy people--while rejecting people with preexisting conditions, or at high risk.
  2. We could not continue with this travesty of a healthcare system: ObamaCare is a modest solution. It still relies on private insurers--merely setting minimum standards and "exchanges" where customers can compare policies.
  3. The moral imperative: Even a clunky compromise like the ACA between a national system of health insurance and a for-profit insurance market depends, fundamentally, on a social compact in which those who are healthier and richer are willing to help those who are sicker and poorer. Such a social compact defines a society.

Legislative outcome: Passed House 239-186-8; never came to a vote in the Senate.

Source: Supreme Court case 15-H0132 argued on Feb 3, 2015

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Page last updated: Dec 14, 2019