I believe healthcare is a fundamental human right. When you need medical care, you should be able to get it. Unfortunately, that is becoming more and more difficult. The cost of healthcare is about twice as much per person as in other wealthy countries. Healthcare debt is the leading cause of personal bankruptcies in the United States.
Sky-rocketing costs have caused large and small employers to reconsider whether to provide healthcare insurance as an employee benefit and have led to higher premiums, co-pays, and deductibles and to reduced services.
And heaven help those who need to buy insurance on their own. Failing to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act, the Trump Administration is trying to do everything it can to weaken the law, increasing the cost of health insurance for those who can least afford it, eroding protections for patients with pre-existing conditions, and circumventing the requirement for a full range of essential medical services.
I will fight for the provisions of the Affordable Care Act that protect you from unfair insurance practices and increase your access to care. I will also work to improve the Act, among other things, by working to make care more affordable and to reduce the burden it imposes on small employers.
Too many residents of the 5th district are uninsured or underinsured. That has to change. We also need to create a better option for an increasingly large number of families who are paying more for private insurance but getting less.
The solution to these problems is to make Medicare an option for all - not to cut dramatically the program that currently pays for health care to the elderly, as GOP leaders in Washington propose. You should be able to buy a Medicare policy if you can get it at terms better than those available through private plans.
Another major factor adding to health care costs drug prices. There is a simple solution: permit the government to negotiate with pharmaceutical manufacturers to reduce what you can be charged for drugs. That occurs throughout the world. No reason exists that the government shouldn’t be doing it as well on your behalf.
Limited health insurance options means one thing for communities throughout the 5th district: fewer healthcare providers. Over the past 20 years, we have seen hospitals cutback services and staff. We have seen doctors’ offices shuttered. Services to rural areas will be restored only if your family, friends, and neighbors have adequate health insurance that pays providers for the medical care they deliver. There is a way for us together to make that happen – replace members of congress who won’t work to make sure you can have the health care you need.
Fairness for People with Disabilities and Those who are Aging
I left my career early and returned to South Carolina to enjoy the company of and care for my aging parents. We were fortunate to have resources for late life but I realize the burden of family caregiving is not evenly distributed across the population. Some people unfairly have more responsibility than others with regard to care of people who are old, very young, or have disabilities.
This is simply non-negotiable: I will fight to preserve and strengthen Social Security and Medicare and resist any effort to privatize them or reduce benefits.
Of course I support national family and medical leave that would provide all workers at least 12 weeks paid leave for care of a new child or a family member’s health needs. I will also push for policies and resources to ensure that family caregivers have support, respite care, and training. And I see an economic development opportunity by investing in the home care workforce through incentives to raise wages and offer training. Our senior neighbors who live with low income should not have to live with the anxiety of balancing food, housing, and medicine costs. People of any age with disability should not have to face exclusion or financial hardship because of their condition. I will support the Older Americans Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act to help people remain, with dignity, independently in their own homes and communities.