Amy Klobuchar unveils plan to address medical needs of America's aging population

Klobuchar's plan to help aging Americans

Sen. Amy Klobuchar unveiled a plan on "CBS This Morning" Friday to provide a cure and treatment options for some of the most aggressive chronic conditions facing the country's elderly population, including Alzheimer's disease, by 2025. The 2020 Democratic presidential candidate considers the issue to be one that hits close to home; her father has struggled with Alzheimer's.

"One of the things you realize when you have someone in your family -- for me, my dad is 91, thankfully it didn't hit him till later -- but you see them growing more and more distant, not in the heart but in the mind, and you realize sometimes they may not even quite know who you are, and that's a hard moment when that happens," Klobuchar said.

Klobuchar is not alone in her struggle -- there are currently 14 million people who have someone with Alzheimer's in their family, something the Minnesota senator said the country is "not really getting ready for."

"We're going to see even more and more of it," she said.

Beyond assisting people with Alzheimer's and other chronic medical conditions, her comprehensive proposal would also call for strengthening Medicare and Social Security, reducing drug prices, creating personal savings accounts to help Americans save for retirement and ensure paid family leave for all.

"It is of course about getting a cure and treatment, that's a lot in this plan, about getting us there by 2025 and investing, but it's also about the caregivers," said Klobuchar.

She said her proposal would be paid for by imposing a tax on trust funds that are normally untaxed, resulting in an estimated $200 billion.

"If you started putting that at a normal tax rate ... that brings in a lot of money that I think is better spent on the rest of the people in this country that need help with retirement or need help to take care of a family member," she said.

Her plan also aims to address mental health care for seniors by pushing for suicide prevention campaigns, expansion of access to treatment and increased training for medical professionals to better identify mental health issues at an earlier rate.

Meanwhile, as the Trump administration continues its efforts in the courts to strike down the Affordable Care Act, Klobuchar said she'd support a constitutional amendment guaranteeing the right to health care for all Americans.

"If we had the political environment where we could pass something like that, that would be good because I see health care as a right and not a privilege," she said.

For now, the candidate said her focus was on protecting the act, also known as Obamacare, so Americans "can't get thrown off their insurance" as well as building upon the existing law in order to bring down the rising costs of prescription drugs and allowing seniors to negotiate Medicare prices.

"If the Trump administration is going to keep trying to take those things away from people we're going to fight back," she said.

  • Emily Tillett

    Emily Tillett is a politics reporter and video editor for CBS News Digital