Democrat presidential contender Amy Klobuchar pledged during Wednesday’s debate to take on pharmaceutical companies if elected in 2020.
Democrat debate night one of two moderator Lester Holt asked the ten candidates to say whether they would abolish their own health insurance in favor of a public plan. Only Elizabeth Warren and Bill DeBlasio raised their hands out of the ten candidates on stage. The two nights of Democrat presidential debates are taking place in Miami, Florida.
Holt then targeted Klobuchar, U.S. Senator from Minnesota, asking her about her position advocating for an incremental approach to having both public and private health insurance options.
“I think it’s a bold approach and it’s something that [former President] Barack Obama wanted to do when we were working on the Affordable Care Act,” said Klobuchar of a “public option” for health insurance.
“I am just simply concerned about kicking half of America off of their health insurance in four years which is exactly what this bill says,” said Klobuchar.
She went on to discuss what she called a much bigger issue, pharmaceuticals. “The President literally went on tv on Fox [News] and said that people’s head would spin when they see how much he would bring down pharmaceutical prices,” said Klobuchar who then argued that “instead 2,500 drugs have gone up in double digits since he came into office.” She went on, “Instead he gave a hundred billion dollars in giveaways to the pharma companies. For the rest of us, for the rest of America, that’s what we call all foam and no beer. We got nothin’ out of it.”
Klobuchar proposed to “take on” pharmaceutical companies by “allow[ing] negotiation under Medicare, to bring in less expensive drugs from other countries.”
“Pharma thinks they own Washington, well they don’t own me,” she concluded.
Later in the debate she rebuffed Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, saying that there were three women on the stage who fought hard for “women’s right to choose.” The comment elicited cheers from the crowd. She then advocated for a goal and path to move to “universal health care.” She said she believed those on the stage share the goal of universal health care. Klobuchar said her plan would be to “use Medicare or Medicaid without any insurance companies involved, you could do it either way, and estimates are 13 million people would see a reduction in their premiums, 12 more million people get covered.” She said she believes this is the “beginning and the way you start and the way you move to universal health care.”