Healthcare Reform

Single-Payer Healthcare:

For-profit insurance companies have made a killing off of the healthcare industry. Private insurance adds no benefits to patient service or our healthcare system. The only benefits given is in the form of profit for shareholders, while patients see increased costs and decreased care. While the ACA added some benefits to the old system, it is part of a slow-moving incremental approach that fails to bring meaningful change. Now, even the ACA is under attack by Congressional Republicans and President Trump, who are serving their corporate bosses, by stripping protections from patients and making healthcare too expensive for millions of Americans.

Residents without healthcare are forced into the emergency room for medical care. These visits increase wait times for severely injured patients, and increases healthcare costs for everybody else. Hospitals and insurance companies will always pass on the costs of the uninsured to those who are. In essence, those covered by health insurance are already paying for those who are not covered, but those prices will rise immensely as emergency room care becomes more widely used.

While we are seeing a push for single-payer in California (SB 562, also known as the Californians for a Healthy California Act), we still need to fight for single-payer on the national scale. SB 562 stipulates that healthcare is a right for all Californians, and cites the rising costs of healthcare in a for-profit system. Coverage is decreasing as premiums grow, an issue of which most Californians are keenly aware.

It is time that the United States joined the rest of the industrialized world and adopt Single-Payer healthcare that includes dental care, mental health care, and prescription medication. Americans cannot afford to be exploited by an overpriced healthcare system.

I support H.R. 676, and I will support all future single-payer healthcare legislation.

Defending Medicaid:

While we push for single-payer, we must defend the advances we have made. The ACA was not perfect, but it did have some important provisions that millions of Americans rely on. The pre-existing condition rule, limitations on premiums, and minimum quality of care rules helped to improve care and limit cost increases. The most important of the ACA provisions in terms of insuring people and fighting healthcare related poverty was the Medicaid expansion. By increasing the funding and lowering the enrollment requirements for Medicaid, millions of low-income people could have health insurance. While there are still holes of coverage under ACA, it was a step towards universal healthcare.

Under the newly Republican controlled congress and presidency, we risk a reversal of this provision under the ACA. If the Medicaid expansion is reversed, then we will see millions of Americans lose their health insurance and risk plunging into debt from one trip to the hospital. In the battle for public healthcare, we must fight on two fronts: to implement universal coverage through a single payer system, and to defend our existing coverage from being cut. I will defend the pre-condition protection and the Medicaid expansion from being reversed.

Nurse-to-Patient Ratios:

Proper medical care depends on adequate staff to ensure patients are treated efficiently and holistically. Lower nurse-to-patient ratios are associated with significantly lower mortality. California instituted specific nurse-to-patient ratios in 1999, which correlated with lower mortality rates and increased nurse job retention. When nursing shortages occur, patient care is negatively affected and nurses are overworked, causing the under-treatment of patients and raising the risk to patients.

While ratios alone are an issue, another demand more recently placed on nurses is computerized charting. While computerized charting enables more efficient sharing of medical information, it has has impacted the amount of "face-time" nurses can spend with patients. Studies show that there is a direct correlation to the amount of "face time" a patient receives and positive outcomes.

Nurses already work one on one of the most stressful careers, they deserve our support.

I strongly support mandatory-minimum nurse-to-patient ratios in all nursing facilities, and I support S. 1063 (Brown) and H.R. 2392 (Schakowsky).  I also support revisiting appropriate ratios as the demands on nurses change over time.

Mental Health:

Mental health coverage is essential to ensure Americans lead healthy, full, and successful lives. Many Americans face mild to moderate mental health issues that, when treated properly, don't stop them from working and realizing their full potential.  Mental health programs help stop suicide and drug use. Mental health services should be part of a Single-Payer system that covers all Americans.

Prescription Drug Prices:

Prescription drug prices are inexcusably high due to greedy profiteers in the prescription drug industry. We must empower negotiators in a single-payer system to lower prescription drug costs.

Dental Health:

The current system of separating dental and medical coverage does not make any sense. A medical problem with one's teeth is still a medical problem. Dental health is an important part of everyone's overall health, and therefore, should be included in a single-payer system.

 

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  • published this page in Issues 2017-06-27 22:30:01 -0700
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