Virginia Democrats Rally for Healthcare

Jan 16, 2017

 

People rally against the dismantling of the Affordable Care Act during a gathering in San Francisco, Sunday, Jan. 15, 2017. It was one of dozens of rallies Democrats staged across the country to denounce Republican efforts to repeal President Barack Obama's health care law.
Credit Olga R. Rodriguez / AP

Democrats rallied in Richmond Sunday – urging Congress to fulfill President-Elect Trump’s promise of better healthcare for the nation.  Senator Tim Kaine says he’s hopeful lawmakers will not repeal the Affordable Care Act without providing an acceptable replacement.  

Sandy Hausman spoke with him and filed this report.

 

Virginia’s junior senator admits he’s an optimist and maybe a little naive, but he’s heard encouraging things from Republican lawmakers and the president elect – promises like:

“’Nobody’s going to lose coverage.  It’s not going to be more expensive.  The quality will be higher,’" says Kaine. "Nobody is saying, ‘Let’s go back to where we were before and take health insurance away for 20 million people.’”

Kaine says hospitals, insurance companies and doctors want certainty about what the future holds.

 “The American Medical Association wrote to the speaker and all of us and said, ‘You’ve got to put a plan on the table.  You have to let legislators compare that plan with the Affordable Care Act right now to make sure it’s really better, because if they put a plan on the table, and it’s worse, then we’re going to fight against adopting it,'”

And he was heartened by President-elect Trump’s call to negotiate better drug prices for Medicare – a position taken long ago by Congressional Democrats.

“Donald Trump’s a deal-making guy – the art of the deal, so he understand that the way we don’t negotiate for prescription drug pricing under Medicare is foolish, and that is an area where we ought to be able to partner and save money for seniors but also save money for the public treasury,” says Kaine.

According to the Virginia senator, there are Republicans in the Senate who really do understand what’s at stake. But after years of railing against Obamacare, he said Democrats would have to let their political opponents do something to save face.