Ensuring access to quality and affordable healthcare should be something we can all agree on, regardless of party. But rather than addressing rising healthcare costs or the shortage of rural hospitals and providers, this Congress has created instability and threatened to take coverage away from millions of Americans. I support the goal of universal coverage and a path to get there, including improvements to the ACA and innovative approaches to bringing down the cost of care for everyone.
As your Congresswoman, I will work to...
Defend and improve the ACA. Tom McClintock’s vote for the unsuccessful effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act would have taken health coverage away from 37,000 people in our district. That’s simply unconscionable. I’ll fight to preserve and expand access to affordable coverage, by working with legislators in both parties to build on the ACA. To start, Congress can lower co-pays and deductibles by approving long-term funding for cost-sharing payments. We can also expand choice and offer lower premiums by reviving the public option, extending the existing Medicare network to all Americans who want to buy in. And Congress must reauthorize the Children’s Healthcare Improvement Program, which makes healthcare available to 9 million children of working parents.
Provide universal primary care. While Congress plays politics with Americans’ health, they’ve been overlooking a powerful piece of the solution. Making primary medical care free to all Americans could improve everyone’s health, while actually reducing costs for everyone. That’s because primary care visits are very inexpensive, but studies show that people who have regular access to their primary doctor are much less likely to get seriously ill, or to need expensive specialist treatment later on. As your Congresswoman, I would work with legislators in both parties to explore universal primary care - a simple and practical step to making good health more accessible and affordable for all.
Lower costs through price transparency. If you’ve ever tried to make sense of a pile of doctor’s bills, you know that the way we charge for health care in the US is a drag on our economy and dangerous for our population. I believe more transparency about the price of treatments and medications can help bring down the cost of care, which is vital to expanding access. In Congress, I will introduce legislation to make buying healthcare a simpler and more understandable process. When consumers can compare prices and shop for the best value, we’ll start to see the runaway cost of healthcare come back down to earth. And that will make it easier to get more people covered.
Support rural healthcare providers. Healthcare in rural areas presents unique problems that require an active champion in Congress. With an increasing number of rural hospitals at risk of closing, I will support comprehensive legislation to ensure that Medicaid and Medicare adequately reimburse the cost of serving our population. To make sure those hospitals are adequately staffed, I’ll work to increase training for rural doctors and expand options for highly qualified Nurse Practitioners to provide care. And I will make it easier for patients to access telemedicine, including by expanding high-speed rural broadband.
Overcome the opioid crisis. Opioid addiction is the biggest public health crisis in a generation, and drug overdose is now the leading cause of death for Americans under 50. It should be easier and cheaper to get into recovery than to get drugs - but with a waiting list for treatment beds and high costs for private treatment, that’s not yet the case. The Affordable Care Act made progress by requiring that insurers cover drug treatment and mental health, and enabling another 15 million Americans to afford treatment through Medicaid expansion. But we need additional resources that meet the scale of the problem. In Congress, I will work to expand recovery services, including medically-assisted treatment for opioid addiction. And to help prevent new addictions, I will work to restore the DEA’s full authority to investigate and prosecute companies that irresponsibly push prescription opioids.