Priorities - Bollier for Kansas

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KANSAS PRIORITIES

Lowering the Cost of Healthcare

Healthcare is one of the most critical issues facing our families today. In Kansas, nearly one in five people have medical debt in collections right now. And too many Kansans have such high deductibles and copays that one medical emergency can bankrupt them and their families. As a doctor, Barbara has seen firsthand the many obstacles patients face to getting the care they need.

Since she entered public service in 2009, Barbara has been recognized as an expert on health policy who looks for reasonable solutions. As health insurance premiums and prescription costs are squeezing family budgets, for seven years Barbara has led the charge to expand Medicaid to strengthen hospitals and provide affordable healthcare to 130,000 more Kansans. 

As ranking member on the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee, she was a vocal advocate for patient protection, writing and introducing legislation to end the unfair practice of surprise medical billing in Kansas. Barbara believes that Americans who are happy with their private insurance should be able to keep it. Others should have a public option they can buy into at an affordable rate.

As a doctor, a champion of Medicaid expansion and a patient advocate in the legislature, Barbara will be the Senator that Kansans need. As the first woman physician to serve in the U.S. Senate, Barbara will:

  • Support an innovative public health insurance option to ensure Kansans always have an affordable healthcare choice, while maintaining private health insurance options for Americans who choose to keep them;
  • Preserve protections for the 465,000 non-elderly Kansans with pre-existing conditions, even as they’re under fire from partisan attacks and special interests;
  • Protect Medicaid and Medicare from cuts, and ensure they’re fully-funded into the future;
  • Advocate for commonsense prescription drug policies that allow the federal government to negotiate prices directly with pharmaceutical companies;
  • Rein in surprise medical billing;
  • Work to strengthen rural hospitals and clinics and the countless services they provide smaller communities.

Cleaning up Washington

Our political system is in dire need of ethics reform. For too long, corporate lobbyists, corrupt special interests and career politicians have profited on Washington and its dysfunction. Barbara has spent much of her career thinking about the duties of those put in positions of trust like doctors and elected officials.

Barbara taught bioethics at Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences. She brought that thinking into the Kansas State Legislature where she’s sponsored legislation to stop the revolving door between state government and lobbying firms.

In recent years, we’ve seen a massive surge of outside, dark money coming into politics as a direct result of the deeply misguided Citizens United decision. Our elections should be decided by candidates campaigning out in the open, not by mysterious special-interest groups funded by corporations.

Barbara is committed to bringing Kansas values like integrity to the Senate. As a senator, Barbara will:

  • Advocate for stricter measures to end the number of government officials leaving their jobs to move to lobbying firms;
  • Support a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and reinstate the ban on corporate money in politics;
  • Work across the aisle to pass campaign finance reform to increase the transparency of campaigns and other organizations participating in electoral politics.

Strengthening Rural Prosperity

Kansas has a tradition of rural life that dates back to its first days as a free state. But starting about 100 years ago, the population of many of the state’s 105 counties began to decline. Yet, rural Kansas continues to play a key role in the state. From agriculture to energy, rural communities contribute much to our culture and economy.

Barbara knows that families living in rural areas deserve the same opportunities to succeed. She understands that to strengthen rural communities we must invest strategically and encourage young people to stay so rural Kansas can thrive.

Infrastructure is key to rural Kansas, including safe roads and high speed broadband. Both are critical to the rural economy. Specifically, improved internet access in rural communities will strengthen businesses, healthcare facilities and schools as well as attract young people. We also must reform the United States Postal Services to ensure mail delivery.

As a doctor and champion of Medicaid expansion, Barbara knows that to provide access to affordable healthcare and strengthen rural hospitals and clinics, we must expand Medicaid. Not only will expanding Medicaid improve health outcomes across the state, it will inject millions into our local economies. And with growth, we must provide families with affordable options for housing and childcare.

As a U.S. Senator, Barbara will support rural Kansas by:

  • Prioritizing agriculture and green energy;
  • Expanding Medicaid and protecting Medicare;
  • Supporting investments in expanding high speed broadband access;
  • Working to provide affordable housing and childcare options to families;
  • Ensure the U.S. Postal Service continues to serve rural communities.

Supporting Our Seniors

Kansas is home to a growing population of seniors who deserve lives that reflect their years of contributions to their communities. Nearly 25 percent of our state’s population is estimated to be over the age of 60 by 2030, an increase of 32 percent from 2012. They deserve a leader who will fight for their lives and livelihoods. As a doctor and as a champion of Medicaid expansion, Barbara believes in keeping the promises we have made to older Kansans.

It’s vital that we maintain a strong commitment to protecting Social Security and Medicare, especially now when so many Kansas families are struggling to make ends meet. Too often, income from Social Security is the only thing standing between a senior and poverty. Barbara knows there are things that we can do to reduce costs from Medicare — including allowing Medicare to negotiate for lower prescription drug prices — while still keeping the promises we’ve made to America’s seniors.

As a doctor and as a champion of Medicaid and Social Security, Barbara will be the leader Kansas seniors deserve. As U.S. Senator, Barbara will:

  • Protect Medicare and ensure it’s fully-funded into the future;
  • Help lower prescription drug prices for seniors by working to allow the federal government to negotiate prices directly with pharmaceutical companies;
  • Protect Social Security from cuts.
Business, office, Bar Chart Up

Protecting Our Agricultural Economy

Agriculture and agriculture-related industries in Kansas employ almost thirteen percent of Kansas’ workforce and contribute to over forty percent of Kansas’ economy. But more than that, agriculture defines our identity and our traditions as a state. 

If elected to the United States Senate, Barbara will fight to maintain Kansas’ voice on the Senate Agriculture Committee. There, she’ll work to protect farm bill programs from partisan agendas. Along with colleagues from both parties, she’ll advocate for the policy continuity and stability Kansas farmers need to feed the country.

Barbara is committed to defending our farmers from damaging trade policies and tax experiments that place an undue burden on their ability to earn a living. Our farmers have faced drought, flood, extreme storms, low commodity prices and, most recently, volatile tariff strategy. They don’t want aid, they want the ability to sell their crops and livestock. Farmers want their hard work to result in sales and market growth.

In the U.S. Senate, Barbara will:

  • Retain Kansas farmers’ voice on the Senate Agriculture Committee;
  • Increase funding for agricultural research in Kansas;
  • Promote continuity of farm bill programs;
  • Support international trade deals that benefit Kansas producers;
  • Support rural Kansans’ unique way of life.

Defending Education

Barbara understands that adequately funding public schools is one of the most important concerns for Kansans. During her time in the Kansas Legislature, Barbara has been a vocal supporter of our public schools and a leading advocate for teachers and students.

One of Barbara’s top priorities is ensuring all children — no matter who they are or where they live — have the opportunity to succeed. That means making sure that every school has the resources they need and can provide equitable learning opportunities for kids from an early age through graduation and beyond. She understands the impact early learning can have on a person’s future. She is committed to enhancing learning opportunities for all Kansas students.

Through her work in Topeka, Barbara has become a respected leader on education from early childhood and K-12 to postsecondary education. She helped build the bipartisan coalition that stood up to former Governor Sam Brownback, reversed his failed tax experiment and restored adequate funding to our community schools.

Barbara understands how important education is to each child, and as a U.S. Senator, she will work to:

  • Support and value teachers through higher pay and better benefits;
  • Expand access to quality early childhood and childcare programs;
  • Ensure every student has the opportunity to receive a high quality K-12 education no matter who they are or where they live;
  • Work to make higher education more affordable and accessible for everyone;
  • Expand availability of trade, technical and job training programs.

Acting on Climate Change

Climate change and extreme weather are some of the most significant challenges facing all Kansans, including our farmers and ranchers. For decades, the federal government has neglected its duty to address this issue, and its causes, responsibly. Now, the consequences are serious; Kansas has seen drought, flood and devastating storms impact our communities and our economy. The window for addressing this crisis is quickly closing.

The more we delay, the more our way of life will be permanently changed. Without action in the next decade, Kansans could see our entire agricultural tradition permanently altered. And without action in the next twenty years, our grandchildren will come of age in a world unrecognizable to our own. Barbara knows that to make progress on this complex issue, we must work together.

As a doctor, Barbara always looks at the facts, listens to those impacted by the problem and collaborates on a solution. Our climate deserves nothing less.

In the U.S. Senate, Barbara will:

  • Support a comprehensive plan to reduce carbon emissions;
  • Invest in green energy opportunities to create jobs and accelerate the economy of Kansas, which has the second-highest wind energy potential of any state in the U.S.;
  • Advocate for investment in infrastructure to bring the U.S. economy into the 21st century, and to make communities more efficient and resilient to climate change;
  • Work with state and federal partners to develop and implement a plan to address water shortages and the depletion of the Ogallala Aquifer;
  • Seek opportunities to diversify crops in Kansas.

Reinstating Fiscal Responsibility

As both a doctor and a fiscal conservative, Barbara has always worked to maintain balanced state budgets. She lets the facts and the data drive her decision-making. That’s why she stood up to former Governor Sam Brownback’s disastrous tax experiment that nearly bankrupted Kansas and forced devastating cuts on schools, roads, and healthcare.

Knowing how reckless the tax plan was, Barbara led the effort to reverse it, reinstate fiscal responsibility and restore funding to Kansas public schools. Her priorities have always been to support Kansas families by investing responsibly at the state level.

As a U.S. senator, Barbara will continue to work to increase transparency in the budgeting process, eliminate fraud and waste from the federal budget, reduce the federal deficit and affirm our commitment to seniors by working to strengthen Social Security and Medicare.

Barbara believes that everyone should pay their fair share. And rather than giving deficit-increasing tax breaks to big corporations and those who need help the least, we should provide relief to middle-class, working families. She knows we must spend responsibly, pay our bills and keep the promises already made to Americans. Barbara does not support fiscally irresponsible, unaffordable programs pushed by some national Democrats, including free college for everyone and universal basic income.

In the U.S. Senate, Barbara will:

  • Work to reduce the national debt;
  • Support responsible tax cuts for the middle class and those who need the most help;
  • Protect Social Security and Medicare from cuts.

Preserving a Woman’s Right to Choose Her Healthcare

Barbara knows that when people are making private, complex, personal medical decisions, the last thing they want is a politician in the middle of it. As a doctor, Barbara has a unique appreciation for the doctor-patient relationship and why it is so important to preserve.

In the U.S. Senate Barbara will:

  • Protect women’s privacy in their medical decisions;
  • Let women and their doctors determine what care they need without government interference;
  • Ensure all women — no matter who they are or where they live — have access to basic healthcare.

Ensuring Equality for All

Barbara has long been a vocal advocate for LGBTQ Kansans in the Legislature because she believes all Kansans should have the same rights.

When some in the Legislature passed a bill allowing businesses to discriminate against LGBTQ couples getting married, Barbara spoke out. When they pushed to allow adoption agencies to deny adoptions to same-sex couples, Barbara stood up. And when they denied the existence of trans people, Barbara said “that’s enough.”

As a state senator, Barbara is building a bipartisan coalition to make Kansas a welcoming place for all as the sponsor of a bill to end discrimination against LGBTQ individuals.

In the United States Senate, Barbara will:

  • Advocate for the passage of the Equality Act, which would prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation and gender identity;
  • Vote to overturn the ban on trans service members because anyone who wishes to serve our country should have the opportunity to do so;
  • Support legislation to end bullying against LGBTQ youth.

Defending Our Country

Kansans rely on our leaders, first and foremost, to keep us safe. Kansas has a long, proud tradition of military service. We’re home to the Intellectual Center of the Army in Fort Leavenworth, as well as Fort Riley and McConnell Air Force Base. Our military bases serve as a critical component of our nation’s defense infrastructure and the Kansas economy.

Barbara knows that the best way to keep Americans safe is to remain a global leader and to continue to work closely with our international allies. Our allies multiply our strength and influence abroad and our diplomats work everyday to make Americans safer. Diplomacy is our first line of defense in national security.

Foreign interference is one of the greatest threats facing our democracy right now, with hostile actors targeting government agencies and both political parties. We must rise to address this problem in a bipartisan way — without letting our adversaries divide us. Another present danger is climate change, which is destabilizing critical regions all over the world and fueling conflicts. Further, many military bases, at home and abroad, are at risk.

In the United States Senate, Barbara will:

  • Prevent foreign interference in our elections by securing our election systems, creating auditable paper trails on all voting machines and requiring additional disclosure on online political ads;
  • Ensure Americans are safe by fighting both foreign and domestic terrorism and opposing hate in all forms;
  • Address climate change that is fueling international conflicts and putting our military infrastructure at risk. 

Standing Up for Veterans

Barbara believes that we owe it to Kansas’ nearly 180,000 veterans and the 18 million veterans across the country to demand proper delivery of the care and services they’ve earned.

Keeping that promise means ensuring access to quality healthcare that puts the veteran first. It also means increasing accountability for the Veterans Administration, streamlining and modernizing the delivery of services and helping veterans receive the training and education they need to build strong careers once they’ve returned to civilian life.

The long wait times that plague veterans here in Kansas are unacceptable, particularly in rural areas where it can sometimes take at least three months to see a doctor. Fixing the VA also means increased access to treatment for those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and additional resources to support the growing ranks of women who serve. This includes ensuring the VA is equipped to address incidences of domestic and sexual assault and provide full access to medically-necessary emergency services for veterans’ newborn babies.

As Kansas’ U.S. senator, Barbara will:

  • Support efforts to streamline and modernize the Veterans Health Administration without reducing services;
  • Increase the availability of innovative job training programs;
  • Combat sexual assault and domestic violence in the military;
  • Improve access to mental health and postnatal care.

Securing Justice Reform and Equal Rights

For too long, the federal government has sat idle on issues of basic justice and fairness in American society. Public injustices — the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, Andres Guardado, Carlos Ingram-Lopez and too many others — have elevated the daily injustices facing Black and Latino Americans. But when the public pressure wanes, Washington has often chose to move on rather than take meaningful steps to guarantee the equality under the law that Americans are guaranteed in the Constitution. To address these longstanding wrongs, as senator, Dr. Barbara Bollier would support reforms for:

Living up to the promise of equality under the law, by

  • Building on the bipartisan FIRST STEP Act;
  • Investing in public defenders and providing for equity in criminal defense;
  • Decriminalizing marijuana;
  • Re-evaluating mandatory minimum sentencing;
  • Addressing issues specifically facing women and rural communities in criminal justice reform.

Guaranteeing the right to full participation in our society and democracy to communities of color, by

  • Protecting the right to vote for people of color, and reinstating votings rights to formerly incarcerated people who have completed the terms of their sentences;
  • Ensuring formerly incarcerated people are given a fair chance for employment;
  • Providing access to education and federal post-secondary financial aid for formerly incarcerated people.

 Policing that protects and serves communities of color, by

  • Investing in procedural justice to make policing fair, transparent, and community-driven;
  • Ending the militarization of the police.