Bloomberg 2020
December 19, 2019

Mike Bloomberg Releases New Health Care Plan, Outlines Real Reforms for Better, Affordable Health Care

Watch Mike Bloomberg’s Remarks Live from Memphis Here

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Memphis, Tennessee—December 19, 2019 - Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg unveiled his new health care policy today detailing achievable reforms that will deliver better, affordable health care for all Americans. Bloomberg released his health care plan during a speech in Tennessee, where the number of uninsured is on the rise – nearly one in ten Tennesseans do not have health coverage. Over the last few years, over 100,000 children were dropped from TennCare coverage without proper notification. Bloomberg’s plan will create a Medicare-like public option which lowers health care and drug costs, and increases access to care in rural areas.

There are 28 million people without health care coverage in the United States, most of whom cannot afford their existing options. Bloomberg’s policy will allow people to buy a Medicare-like health insurance policy, administered by the federal government but paid for by customer premiums. This will help increase the number of people who are covered by providing a less expensive option. The increase in competition will also help to drive down private insurance premiums, making insurance more affordable overall.

“No one should have to forgo care because they don't have insurance, and no one should face hardships because of medical bills,” said Mike Bloomberg. “President Trump has spent three years sabotaging the Affordable Care Act and offering nothing in return but empty promises. We will reverse the president’s attacks on the Affordable Care Act, reach universal coverage, reduce costs for all Americans, increase support for rural communities, and fix our broken healthcare system once and for all.”

As Mayor of New York, Mike Bloomberg expanded health care for working families and improved care for seniors. The number of New Yorkers without health insurance fell nearly 50 percent between 2001 and 2013, from 1.8 million to 927,000, with a 72 percent drop in the number of uninsured children, from 288,000 to 82,000, during the same period.

The new policy will make insurance less expensive for everyone, including those who do not receive it through their employer. There are four strategies in the plan to make insurance less expensive for those people.
  • First, extending tax credits for individuals and families whose health insurance premiums amount to more than 8.5 percent of their income in the health care marketplace. This would allow roughly 2.4 million more people to afford coverage in the marketplace.
  • Second, fixing the family glitch by allowing families with expensive employer-sponsored insurance to buy health plans in the individual market with federal subsidies, giving roughly six million more people help with their premiums.
  • Third, creating a permanent federal reinsurance program for the individual market which would reduce premiums by up to 10 percent.
  • Lastly, conducting aggressive efforts to sign people up for insurance. This would include enrollment opportunities in doctor’s offices, hospitals, and food stamp centers. There are roughly 7.5 million people eligible for free or low-cost coverage who could be enrolled in Medicaid/CHIP, and another 4.7 million eligible for a fully subsidized bronze plan in the individual market. As mayor, Mike Bloomberg conducted similar outreach in daycare centers, schools, and medical centers to inform the uninsured about their health-care options.
In his speech at Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library, Bloomberg criticized President Trump for his efforts to undermine the health care system and deny vital coverage to millions of Americans. The Trump administration has shortened the sign-up period for buying health insurance through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) by half to just 45 days and cut funding for sign-up efforts to just $10 million. As a result, the number of uninsured Americans has been increasing roughly 1 million people a year under President Trump. Mike Bloomberg’s plan would reinstate the full 90-day sign-up period and restore funding for outreach efforts. President Trump has also authorized short-term insurance plans which do not include preventive care, maternal care, and other essential benefits to compete alongside high-quality ACA-authorized policies. In addition, Bloomberg’s policy will require that all insurance plans meet the standards set under the ACA like covering maternal care and pre-existing conditions.

Bloomberg also made clear that he is ready to defend the ACA in the face of a lawsuit brought by Texas and other states threatening to overturn the nation’s health care law. Tennessee faces a uniquely difficult health care situation with its diabetes, cardiovascular, and hypertension rates among the highest in the nation. The state, which has about 1.4 million Medicaid enrollees, is one of 14 states that has not expanded the program under the ACA, and critics say the block-grant model puts the most vulnerable at risk if the state faces an economic downturn or increases restrictions on Medicaid enrollment.

To reinforce this message, the Bloomberg campaign also released “Done It Before” -- a new national digital ad focused on health care which begins airing today in Super Tuesday states like Tennessee. The ad presents a sharp contrast between Mike Bloomberg as a “doer” versus President Trump as “destroyer.”

Additional key components of Mike’s plan include:
  • Eliminating “surprise medical bills” by requiring in-network hospitals to provide in-network care. Doctors and clinicians who operate within a network hospital will be required to accept in-network rates.
  • Capping out-of-network hospital prices at 200 percent of Medicare rates, in order to drive health care prices down overall.
  • Lowering drug costs by authorizing Medicare to negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies, by eliminating the drug-company payments to pharmacy benefit managers, and by reforming the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit to encourage greater competition, and cap beneficiaries' annual out-of-pocket costs at $2,000.
Medicare does not currently cover routine dental, vision, or hearing checkups. The proposed policy will add an additional supplemental Medicare benefit, similar to the drug benefit, to cover dental, vision, and hearing care. Beneficiaries would pay a separate premium, which would be $25 per month. To help low-income adults get dental care, Mike Bloomberg would expand Medicaid to cover dental care in all states to help provide preventive care for those who are least able to afford it.

Additionally, Bloomberg’s policy addresses significant gaps in care in rural communities by expanding access to good health care with increased funding for rural hospitals, clinics, and emergency departments and increasing access to telehealth services. This would entail switching from a fee-for-service payment structure to paying rural hospitals a capitated amount to manage the care for the patients in their area. The proposal includes increasing federal grants to Community Health Centers, which provide free or low-cost care. Under Bloomberg’s health care plan, Medicare would be required to cover more telehealth services, and get rid of facility fees when patients are given telehealth care at home.

"This plan identifies ways to lower costs and increase coverage, which is a high priority for consumers,” said Kathleen Sebelius, former Governor and Former Health and Human Services Secretary. “Mike also proposes continuing to provide consumer choice and market competition with regulatory controls, as well as restoring the fundamental framework of the Affordable Care Act which has been under attack in this administration."

"When Mike was Mayor, he championed healthcare policies that greatly expanded healthcare for working families,” said Al Aviles, former president of the Health and Hospitals Corporation. “The number of New Yorkers without health insurance fell nearly 50 percent during his administration. At the same time, he strongly supported improving care within our City's vast public healthcare system for seniors with chronic conditions like diabetes, hypertension and congestive heart failure. I know Mike as a pragmatic, results-oriented leader with a deep commitment to ensuring affordable, high quality healthcare for everyone. And that’s the type of leader we need.”

“American cities need a partner in Washington when it comes to health care,” said Columbia South Carolina Mayor and Campaign Co-Chair Steve Benjamin. “We can get the ball rolling, we can listen to our constituents. But, at the end of the day, improving our health care system requires national leadership. Mike will bring that.”

"Mike led the expansion of access to quality affordable health care for New Yorkers as mayor,” said Dr. Michael Stocker, former chairman of the board of the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation and former CEO of Empire Blue Cross and Blue Shield. “Based on Mike’s record, I am confident he can drive change at the national level to improve the health of all Americans.”

Today’s announcement builds on Mike Bloomberg’s record as a leading public health advocate spanning from his time as New York City Mayor, during which life expectancy in New York City increased by three years, to his philanthropic work, which includes taking on the tobacco companies in low-and middle income countries, combating the opioid crisis, fighting the youth e-cigarette epidemic, and much more.

Read the full policy here and visit for more information.

Health Coverage Plan

President Donald Trump and his Republican allies have done little to help. On the contrary, they have gone after the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and made it harder for the vulnerable to get Medicaid coverage.

And while health costs are almost double those of other affluent countries, the U.S. has lower life expectancy and higher infant-mortality rates than other advanced nations.

Mike’s plan is politically practical and achievable, working toward universal coverage, lower costs, and improved health for Americans. They key elements of the plan include:

Public option

The first step is to create a Medicare-like public option — health insurance that would be administered by the federal government but paid for by customer premiums. In rolling out this option, priority would go to the uninsured, including low-income people who are in states that haven’t expanded Medicaid under the ACA. A public insurance option would improve consumer choice and increase competition in the private insurance market, pushing down everyone’s premiums. People of modest means who buy the public option would be eligible for the same subsidies that would apply on the health insurance exchanges.

Build on the Affordable Care Act

The ACA made great strides in helping people who don’t get health insurance through an employer afford coverage in the individual market. Mike would reverse the Trump administration’s attempts at sabotage: He would expand enrollment efforts, restrict the sale of health plans that don’t meet ACA standards, and defend the law against politically motivated lawsuits. He would expand subsidies to cap premiums at 8.5% of a household’s income. He would create a permanent reinsurance program that, by helping insurers with the largest claims, would reduce customer premiums roughly 10%. Finally, because about a third of Americans choose not to see a dentist regularly because it is too expensive, Mike would expand Medicare to include an optional policy covering dental, hearing, and vision care, and would require all states to cover oral health services for adults in Medicaid.

Cap health care prices and ban surprise medical bills

Expanding insurance coverage is not enough to protect Americans from high medical bills. The U.S. health care market has been unable to restrain costs. And this problem has been compounded by provider consolidation. To bring prices down, Mike would cap out-of-network charges at 200% of Medicare rates. (Medicare does something similar; beneficiaries enrolled in private plans, known as Medicare Advantage plans, have capped prices for out-of-network providers. This cap protects beneficiaries, and, at the same time, gives private insurers greater leverage in negotiating rates with hospitals and clinicians.)

Lower drug costs

Mike would work with Congress to authorize the secretary of Health and Human Services to negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies. The government would cap drug prices at 120% of the average in other advanced nations — and this cap would apply to consumers with public or private insurance. Mike would ban drug company payments to the people who make decisions at pharmacies so that drug makers compete on the cost and value of their products — not on the amount of money they pay to get preferential treatment. Mike would also reform the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit to encourage greater competition, and cap beneficiaries’ annual out-of-pocket costs at $2,000.

Taken together, these changes would lower health care costs, insure millions more Americans, and promote competition and efficiency in the health care market.

Additional details on Mike’s health care plan will be released in the coming weeks.

Mike’s Record

Mike Bloomberg knows the value of quality health care, and he has a record of success, as Mayor of New York, and as a successful businessman, that make him the right person to take on this challenge.

  • Mike built a business with more than 19,000 employees, each with great health care and paid leave.
  • As Mayor of New York, Mike expanded health care for working families and improved care for seniors. The number of New Yorkers without health insurance fell nearly 50 percent between 2001 and 2013 — from 1.8M to 927K — with a 72 percent drop in the number of uninsured children in the period, from 288K to 82K.
  • New York City was the first local government in the nation to offer help online to uninsured residents. With NYC Health Insurance Link, uninsured small businesses, individuals, and freelancers are now able to search for and compare all different kinds of health plans. The tool provides users with a full range of comprehensive health plans available in the City.
  • New York City was a pioneer in health care accountability. In 2007, New York City’s Health and Hospital Corporation, which operates the public hospitals and clinics in New York City as a public benefit corporation, began publishing information on infection and death rates for each of its hospitals and for the system as a whole in comparison to state and national averages. It was the first health care system in New York State to do so.