Healthcare is the major issue today and while the Republicans may have recently postponed their assault on all we have gained through the ACA, we as Democrats must face up to the fact that unless we boldly improve upon the ACA, then there will always be Republican attacks on the ACA. By prohibiting denial of coverage based upon pre-existing conditions, or lifetime caps, and securing coverage for children up to 26 years of age and mandating essential care, the ACA has guaranteed health care coverage for millions of Americans. However, as long as the provision of essential care continues to be financed by the private, for-profit health insurance industry, through a largely employer based system, we will never be able to contain costs, or guarantee universal coverage. I firmly believe that a Single-Payer healthcare system is the only answer to provide the most affordable and universal care for American citizens.
In order to make this transition we will need legislators who understand the complexity of our healthcare system. Adopting any system will need to be done thoughtfully. I’ve worked in multiple areas of our healthcare system, including purchasing group health insurance for a diverse group of tens of thousands of Pennsylvanians. I’ve been doing constituent services on healthcare for years and bringing concerns back to non-profit buyers, insurance companies, and health systems to negotiate the best plans for our constituent needs. If the switch is flipped recklessly, a new system will be under the control of the same misogynists who believe that being pregnant is a pre-existing condition. Government insurance would require political firewalls and avoiding budgetary austerity that can cripple healthcare innovation and breakthroughs in treatments, quality of care or, the entire system itself. We must successfully move forward to a Single-Payer system that provides excellent health care, that reduces the costs of care and within a model that is financially sound! If we deliver this system to Americans, that will build a constituency that will remain loyal to the Democratic party and our American health system forever!
Universal healthcare coverage is a goal we can all get behind. We all expect to be treated by physicians and physicians want to treat us, regardless of income or insurance status. We are all paying for everybody’s healthcare regardless of how we approach the issue. Steps that will pave the way for Single-Payer need to be achieved first. First and foremost, we need to get health care costs under control and create more competition in the health insurance and healthcare marketplace by removing the black boxes around healthcare billing. It is the only way to create broad plans that can compete with Medicare like plans. Additionally, consumers need more insurance options, including a public option, to increase insurance competition.
Once again, as an end goal, I am in favor of a Single-Payer system. However, we need to roll out the implementation slowly as to not shock the healthcare system. The healthcare sector is a valuable part of our economy here in PA’s 5th, and we provide some of the best medical care in the world, so implementation of any new plan must pay deep consideration to this sector of our economy, as well as care-provider and patient needs.
Universal Coverage is also the only option that will unshackle us from 40 hour work weeks and allow small businesses and American entrepreneurs to start and grow their businesses. Currently, far too many Americans work more than they want in order to keep their benefits packages. We stay at work too late, often becoming less productive, and spend too little time raising our next generation of Americans. We need flexible work schedules that fit our family lives and small businesses need flexible workers that meet their growing needs. By removing the necessity of paying large healthcare premiums from employers, we will have more liberty in our work, be more productive and have more time to raise our children or commit to our communities. By removing the costs of health care that burdens American companies and small businesses it will increase their competitiveness in the world economy, therefore increasing their business and creating more American jobs and ultimately leading to a stronger American economy.
It’s important to remember when we discuss healthcare reform that insurance is not access. There are many areas of our country with few health care providers, particularly for women’s health and reproductive care. Any healthcare solution needs to include expanding education for non-physician primary care providers, like nurse practitioners, to meet our growing healthcare needs and reduce costs of care.
Women’s Reproductive Rights
I believe in a woman’s right to choose for her own body and that this choice is foundational to women’s rights generally. I also believe abortion rights is an issue that has been improperly used to divide otherwise similarly compassionate people. The role of the U.S. House of Representatives is to craft legislation that will enable better access to contraception and family planning and make sure that no woman has to choose between an abortion and poverty. I fully support a woman’s right to choose. Part of the right to choose is the right to choose life, but women are bombarded with hurdles due to ill-conceived legislation that keep them from making a decision with their own gynecologist and getting proper care in a timely fashion. Obstructionist legislation is unconstitutional and needs to be put to an end. The key to lowering abortion numbers and improving women’s health is to get the government out of the clinic and provide better support to families with young children. I will fight to secure adequate sex-education and family planning services in conjunction with a stronger fight for social and economic justice that will provide an environment whereby the need for, and utilization of abortions, will be diminished through increased women’s agency.
Science - a system or method reconciling practical ends with scientific laws
I invite you to join me in the effort to reconcile the needs of the PA 5th with pragmatic scientific solutions. We should not have to accept an aversion to fact-based research and informed decision making in our national policies. We shouldn’t leave the fate of our planet to people who reject scientific fact!