Mike Bloomberg on Healthcare Issues

February 17, 2020

Michael Bloomberg wants a Medicare-like public insurance option, not Medicare for all. It's what you'd expect from a candidate who is appealing for support from moderate Democrats.

With Mike Bloomberg climbing in the polls and spending hundreds of millions of dollars on advertising, it is a good time to take a look at the Democratic presidential hopeful’s healthcare proposals.

In the “plans” part of his website, he stakes out his positions on health coverage, drug prices, maternal health, the opioid epidemic, and e-cigarettes. There isn’t tons of detail but there’s certainly enough to get a get a grasp of Bloomberg’s outlook on a number of healthcare issues.

Health coverage. As a candidate who wants to appeal to moderates in the Democratic party and beat Bernie Sanders, it is not surprising that the former New York City mayor is not in favor of Medicare for all. Bloomberg says he favors at “Medicare-like public insurance option,” improving the ACA, a ban on surprise bills, and protecting access to health care in rural areas.

Related: Top Health Industry Issues of 2020

Drug prices. Like most Democrats, Bloomberg is in favor of CMS negotiating prices for the Medicare program. He says he also wants to cap beneficiaries’ out-of-pocket expenses and change patent laws to get generics on the market faster.

Maternal health. The U.S. is an outlier among high-income countries when it comes to maternal mortality and other measures of maternal health-and not in a good way. The rates are especially poor among African American women. Among Bloomberg’s proposals are implicit bias training for physicians, access to “enhanced Medicaid” for all low-income women, and encouraging states to allow advanced practice nurses and physician assistants to provide more [maternal health] care.

Opioid epidemic. Bloomberg’s proposals for dealing with the opioid epidemic are all safely in the mainstream: make medications for “addiction treatment” more accessible, collect better data about the opioid epidemic, and require insurance coverage of mental health services.

Electronic cigarettes. Bloomberg is strongly identified with a number of public health issues, most notably  taxes on sugary beverages, so you’d expect him to take tough positions on e-cigarettes. He favors banning all flavored e-cigarettes, limiting the amount of nicotine in vaping and tobacco products, raising taxes on tobacco products, and making insurance coverage of tobacco cessation mandatory.