It is a RIGHT Healthcare is a right. Period. I will fight to ensure that everyone in the Commonwealth has affordable and timely healthcare. If the federal government won’t work to fix the broken system, then we need to tackle this major problem at the state level. No one, anywhere, ever, should have to choose between insulin and food, between surgery and rent. No one should lose their life savings to save the life of a child. And no one should have to start a GoFundMe page to help a friend pay off a mountain of medical debt. These scenarios are simply not acceptable.
Costs We need to bring down the costs of medicine and medical care, whether this is a cap on allowable costs for medicines or on insurance premiums or hospital fees. One medical emergency should never bankrupt a family. Medical-related bankruptcies are skyrocketing across the nation (https://www.nasdaq.com/articles/medical-bankruptcy-is-killing-the-american-middle-class-2019-02-14) as well as here in Kentucky. HB 12, which was an attempt to cap the cost of insulin for Kentucky citizens was also killed by the Senate when they refused to call the bill. This is inexcusable. It is just another example of legislators putting Big Pharma ahead of the interests of the citizens of our commonwealth.
Drug abuse We need to tackle the Opioid and Meth crisis ravaging our Commonwealth. This scourge causes many other forms of damage to our communities: crime, assault, child abuse and neglect, suicide, and more. As an underlying symptom of these other issues, if we can get a grip on this crisis we will also be working on a solution for these other problems. We need to continue with KORE (https://chfs.ky.gov/agencies/dbhdid/Pages/kore.aspx) and explore other avenues to treat these affected populations. We also need to continue the good work started under Governor Steve Beshear with the passing of SB192 in 2015 to attack the growing Heroin-Fentanyl Epidemic in parts of the commonwealth. (https://odcp.ky.gov/Pages/The-Heroin-Epidemic.aspx)
Medical marijuana While it is true that more study needs to be done on medical marijuana, there are studies (https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2338251) and anecdotal evidence (https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-wales-48283542) that there are wonderful medicinal values for its use. In fact, the KY House overwhelmingly supported HB 136 (https://www.kentucky.com/news/politics-government/article240477986.html) where it was killed by the Senate when they refused to call it. There is no valid reason this bill shouldn’t have passed into law and we shouldn’t have joined THIRTY-THREE other states that support medical marijuana (Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia).
It should also be noted that Steve Riley chose to NOT VOTE on this bill. He didn’t vote NO and he didn’t vote YES – he just chose not to vote, which is in many ways worse than voting no. (Voting results here.)