It is my duty to provide for and protect Americans’ well-being. To me that includes ensuring your access to a healthy living environment, and to quality, affordable healthcare. In spite of impressive advancements in health, like new medical technology and the Affordable Care Act, there’s still much work to be done to bring Americans to the standard of health which they deserve.
Health is more than just our response to the coronavirus, routine vaccinations, or the costs of medications - as important as those are. Reproductive rights are a health issue. Gun control is a health issue. Addiction, homelessness, domestic violence -- these are all health issues. There is not a single moment in our lives which is not influenced by public health.
Climate change and other environmental issues pose an enormous threat to global public health. Extreme weather, crop destruction, changes to ecosystems, and the mere presence of air and water pollutants are all serious threats to people’s well-being across the globe. We must fight climate change and protect the environment like our lives depend on it, because they very much do.
Racial health disparities have only been exacerbated by the pandemic, which has disproportionately affected Black and Latino Americans. Our approach to healthcare reform must address medical and environmental racism, equitably serving those of us who have been particularly disadvantaged by the American healthcare system.
There’s no excuses for all the preventable, systemic health issues Americans currently face. Better health outcomes for all Americans are within reach. That’s why I am a proud cosponsor of several forward-thinking healthcare reform bills in the current (117th) Congress:
H.R.265, The Insular Area Medicaid Parity Act would eliminate Medicaid funding limitations for U.S. territories. As the law currently stands, U.S. territories are forced to operate their Medicaid programs under strict funding caps, jeopardizing peoples’ access to healthcare, particularly oral care. For American citizens in Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa, this legislation could be life-saving.
H.R. 586, The STANDUP Act of 2021 would support youth suicide prevention programs in schools. States, schools, and Tribes would receive grants in exchange for implementing screening and training policies which have been proven to prevent suicides. These grants, through Project AWARE, would promote mental health awareness in schools. Teen suicide has been increasing at an alarming rate for years, now exacerbated by the stress and isolation of the COVID-19 pandemic. This bill could provide life-saving support to struggling young people across the country.