A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Letter to the Editor: Col Owens says support Amy McGrath and healthcare for all — realistically

A major issue facing Kentuckians in this fall’s U.S. Senate election is health care.

All Democratic candidates support universal access to coverage. How to get there is what differentiates them.

Amy McGrath recognizes that access to health care, like access to basic education, enhances our quality of life while undergirding our nation’s security and competitiveness.

She proposes a thoughtful, realistic path to achieving universal coverage, building on what we have rather than tearing it down.

More than 175 million Americans have private health insurance, most through their employers. It would be foolish, Amy believes, to take away coverage that many are satisfied with. She would preserve and strengthen the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and add a public option.

This approach reflects our national experience over time with other major policy initiatives, such as Social Security and Medicare.

Over 20 million Americans have gained coverage from the Affordable Care Act. Never perfect, it was a major step forward when adopted. Republicans have been trying to repeal it since it was enacted 10 years ago. While not succeeding, they have undermined its viability. Amy proposes to fix problems they created, while maintaining essential health benefits, continuing coverage for pre-existing conditions, prohibiting annual or lifetime coverage caps, and allowing Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices.

To achieve the goals of universal access, lower costs, and increased competition, Amy supports creation of a public option. It would provide people a choice between public or private coverage, rather than forcing them into either. Allowing those over 55 to buy into Medicare would help achieve those goals, providing security to older Americans while reducing costs for those under 55.

Amy has given careful thought to the opioid crisis. While it has received less attention during the current Coronavirus pandemic, it remains a major national tragedy. Between 1999 and 2017, over 700,000 Americans have died from a drug overdose. This compares to the 58,000 American lives lost in the Vietnam War, and the 75,000 lives lost to date to the Coronavirus.

Amy listens to the experts. They say we need to invest $45 billion over 10 years to address the opioid crisis, with research, prevention, treatment, and recovery. Only a fraction of that amount has been provided to date. Amy recognizes this is not just a public health issue, it is also a workforce issue. She cites a 2017 Kentucky Chamber of Commerce report detailing Kentucky’s low workforce participation rate, making it more difficult for employers to fill jobs because of this crisis.

While all Democratic Senate candidates want to see a better health care future, Amy McGrath proposes the most realistic pathway for getting there.

Her plan not only differentiates her from her Democratic opponents, it radically distinguishes her from Mitch McConnell, who has been bought by the health care and pharmaceutical industries over the years and who is on the wrong side of every one of these issues.

Democratic primary voters should adopt a sound, realistic approach to healthcare for all. They should support Amy McGrath in the Democratic primary on June 23.

Col Owens
Ft. Mitchell

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  1. Just exactly why do you believe that Amy McGrath can defeat Mitch McConnell in a state wide race when she could not defeat Andy Barr in the the 6th District congressional race in 2018? In that race, Amy failed to carry a single rural county in that district and it was close only because of the large numbers she piled up in Fayette and Franklin County. Has she taken steps to improve her position in rural Kentucky? She stumbled badly after announcing her candidacy by accusing McConnell of blocking Trump’s agenda and saying that she would have supported Brett Kavanaugh’s appointment to the Supreme Court. Amy is the candidate of the Democratic Senatorial Committee and Chuck Schumer. It is not at all clear that she is the candidate of Kentucky Democrats. let alone all the voters in Kentucky. If McGrath is the candidate against McConnell in November, I will vote for her and wish her successful, but I don’t see many reasons to optimistic.

  2. Barbara Edwards says:

    Health care for all

  3. Dennis Kelley says:

    “Everything free” can’t say it any better than what the Democrats want. They have no idea how to pay for it other than higher taxes on those working. Fewer and fewer people will want or need to work since a Democratic led government will provide EVERYTHING. Look how that worked for that country to our south who was the shining star until the socialists took over. Mr. Owens is a leftest of the nth degree as is Amy McGrath. Everything free has been a failure in every era and every area of the world. What dream world do these people(Democratic socialists) think they can make it a success in the U. S. ?

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