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November 25, 2019

Bloomberg has entered the Democratic presidential race. Here's where he stands on health care.

Daily Briefing

    Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (D) on Sunday announced that he has entered the race for the 2020 Democratic nomination for president, and a video launching his campaign touched on his views regarding health care reform.

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    According to Politico, Bloomberg is known for "his eponymous financial news company," which has made him "one of the richest people in the world." He also served as New York City's mayor for three terms from 2002 to 2013. According to NPR, Bloomberg ran as a Republican when he was first elected as New York City's mayor, and was registered as a Republican during much of his time as mayor. Bloomberg changed his registration to Independent in 2007, and changed it again to Democrat in October 2018.

    Bloomberg in March said he would not be running for president in 2020. However, Bloomberg in his campaign-launch video said he decided to run "to defeat [President] Trump and rebuild America." Bloomberg continued, "I believe my unique set of experiences in business, government, and philanthropy will enable me to win and lead."

    According to Politico, Bloomberg is "positioning himself as a centrist alternative to" former Vice President Joe Biden. Bloomberg's relatively late entrance to the race "reflects his skepticism that any of the other 17 Democratic candidates can unseat" Trump, Reuters reports.

    Where Bloomberg stand on health care issues

    Bloomberg is known for launching various health-focused initiatives during his time as New York City's mayor. Here's where he stands on some key health care issues:

    • Abortion rights: Bloomberg has donated to groups that advocate for a woman's right to access abortion.

    • Health care reform: According to Axios, Bloomberg does not support so-called "Medicare-for-All" proposals. Bloomberg in his campaign-launch video touted a health reform option in which "everyone without health insurance is guaranteed to get it and everyone who likes theirs can go ahead and keep it." Bloomberg has expressed support for the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate.

    • Marijuana legalization: Bloomberg during a speech at the U.S. Naval Academy earlier this year called efforts to legalize marijuana "perhaps the stupidest thing anybody has ever done," Newsweek reports. In reference to efforts to legalize marijuana, Bloomberg said, "Last year, in 2017, 72,000 Americans [overdosed] on drugs. In 2018, more people than that are OD-ing on drugs, have OD'd on drugs. And today, incidentally, we are trying to legalize another addictive narcotic, which is perhaps the stupidest thing anybody has ever done. We've got to fight that, and that's another thing that Bloomberg Philanthropies will work on it in public health."

    • Paid medical leave: Bloomberg in 2013 vetoed a bill that would have required many businesses in New York City to provide workers with paid sick leave, NBC New York reports. Bloomberg said he supported the bill's aim but was concerned about the strain the measure could place on businesses.

    • Public health: As New York City's mayor, Bloomberg backed an ultimately unsuccessful proposal to ban the sale of certain large sugary drinks in the city. Bloomberg also proposed legislation to ban public displays of tobacco products, strengthen penalties on retailers who evade tobacco taxes, and require retailers to raise the prices of certain tobacco products in the city. He implemented bans on smoking in restaurants and bars in the city. Bloomberg on Monday criticized Trump for delaying action to ban sales of flavored e-cigarettes in the United States, and Bloomberg has donated money from this charitable organization, Bloomberg Philanthropies, to curb flavored e-cigarette use. In addition, Bloomberg has championed initiatives to reduce salt contents in pre-packaged and restaurant foods and ban unhealthy foods at hospitals in New York City, as well as efforts to implement new prescription painkiller restrictions. Further, Bloomberg in 2016 gave $300 million to the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health to create the Bloomberg American Health Initiative—which focuses on adolescent health, environmental threats, gun violence, obesity, and substance misuse—and has donated millions of dollars to support efforts to implement taxes on sugary beverages throughout the United States.

    • Vaccines: Bloomberg has spoken in favor of vaccinations and in 2013 implemented a policy to require all children ages five and younger who attend preschools licensed by New York City to receive an influenza vaccination (Goldenberg, Politico, 11/24; Summers/Wamsley, NPR, 11/24; So/Whitesides, Reuters, 11/24; Allassan/Perano, Axios, 11/24; Olsen-Phillips, Sunlight Foundation, 8/19/14; Marcin, Newsweek, 1/23; Ontheissues.org, accessed 11/25; Rubinstein, Politico,12/13/13; Peltz, NBC New York, 6/7/13).

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