7 things to know about Tim Kaine on healthcare

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton chose Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) Friday to be her No. 2.

Sen. Kaine was considered to be on the shortlist for President Barack Obama's vice president too, according to The New York Times. He is a Roman Catholic who grew up around Kansas City, Mo., and established himself early in his career as a proponent for fair housing and civil rights issues, according to the report.

Here are seven things to know about where Sen. Kaine stands on healthcare.

1. Sen. Kaine supports the Affordable Care Act. "I am committed to improving our healthcare system and lowering the growth in healthcare costs," a statement on his senate website reads. In particular, Sen. Kaine voiced support for the law's health insurance expansion, tax credits to make care more affordable and ban on denying care to those with pre-existing conditions.

2. However, Sen. Kaine says more fixes to the ACA are needed. In particular, Sen. Kaine introduced legislation to do away with the ACA's "family glitch," which defines health insurance affordability based on the cost of individual rather than family coverage. He cosponsored legislation to prevent premiums from increasing and cosponsored legislation to add a "copper plan," which would create more choice for consumers on the exchanges.

3. Addressing the opioid crisis is a top priority for Sen. Kaine. His website says he is closely focused on this issue in the Senate. "From the coalfields in southwest Virginia to the suburbs in Fairfax County, I have heard from families who have lost children to drug overdoses, law enforcement who are facing increases in drug-related crimes, and businesses who struggle to find workers who can pass a drug test," his site reads. He has introduced legislation to increase access to naloxone, the opioid-overdose reversal drug, as well as a bill addressing FDA approval of new opioids.

4. He is also positioning himself as a champion of preventive care. America's Health Insurance Plans President and CEO Marilyn Tavenner told STAT that Sen. Kaine was very interested in prevention when she served as Virginia's health secretary under his governorship. While he served as governor of Virginia, Sen. Kaine backed restaurant smoking bans and initiatives to reduce infant mortality, according to STAT.    

5. Sen. Kaine supports a woman's right to choose. Though Sen. Kaine is of the Roman Catholic faith, he does not oppose abortion. "I have a traditional Catholic personal position, but I am very strongly supportive that women should make these decisions and government shouldn't intrude," Sen. Kaine told CNN. "In government, we have enough things to worry about. We don't need to make people's reproductive decisions for them."

6. He has a substantial background in health IT. According to POLITICO's Arthur Allen, Sen. Kaine "helped build one of the country's best statewide telemedicine networks" during his tenure as governor. During this time, he built telemedicine services across the state and pushed for legislation requiring payers to reimburse for technology services, according to the report.

7. Sen. Kaine supports allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies. In 2015, he introduced legislation to give Medicare this right, which he said would save billions of dollars for Medicare and its beneficiaries.


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