Nearly 50 percent of residents in California’s District 1 rely on the government for some or all of their healthcare costs, or manage to get by with no health insurance at all. So many people who rely on government-supported healthcare are doing so because they are children, or disabled, or veterans, or elderly, or work at jobs with no benefits. It is past time that we separate healthcare from our employment and make healthcare equitable and affordable for all people. How do we do that in a situation where healthcare costs have been rising in the United States?
- 1. Consolidate our federal healthcare dollars into one program that provides universal health insurance and supports our most vulnerable people. Medicare and Medicaid have long track records and satisfied customers and should serve as models for the future.
- Lay out a road map to consolidate private insurance with public insurance. This is the only way to control the overall cost of our healthcare system and improve the efficiency and quality of care.
- Work toward cost control and efficiencies by eliminating all the excess reporting, billing, and red tape that has a stranglehold on our current system.
- Support the educational costs and skills training for doctors and medical professionals.
I believe in taking an active role in ensuring equal rights and opportunities for women. This means protecting Title VII so women are paid equally for their work in a safe environment. It also means encouraging police departments to correctly investigate and prosecute cases of sexual assault. I advocate for reproductive rights and education, including comprehensive sex education in schools, mandated health care coverage of birth control, and ensuring a woman’s right to choose whether to have an abortion.
The federal government has an important role to play in responding to the terrible opiate health crisis. First and foremost, drug addiction must be approached as a public health issue, not a criminal issue. There are three ways that the federal government needs to be engaged on this issue.
- Coverage of addiction treatment as a basic requirement of all health insurance plans. The Affordable Care Act made a big change to the way addiction treatment is paid for by regular folks, and we need to protect and build on that foundation.
- Availability and supply of these drugs needs to be better regulated at the federal level.
- The federal government, as a major employer and landowner and stakeholder, needs to be more involved in programs in our region like the Northern Sierra Opiate Safety Coalition.