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  Health Care

Health care is a human right.  Here is what I believe and what I’ll do on the important issue. Our focus must be on people and principles and not petty Washington DC politics.

The fundamental issue relating to health care is the availability and affordability of coverage, along with the concern that a catastrophic diagnosis, such as cancer, can lead to a decreased socioeconomic status or even bankruptcy. I support the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and will work to protect, expand and strengthen its provisions. We must provide access to coverage for as many people as possible to help drive down costs. We must provide a more sustainable solution for the uninsured who use emergency rooms as doctor’s offices. Doing so drives up costs for hospitals, which is then passed onto those with private/employer-based insurance. The long-term goal is to figure out how to provide health care for the millions of Americans who are still not covered, while keeping the costs affordable for everyone else.

The need for fundamental health care coverage for everyone is greater than ever. People have lost their jobs, and some may not return to the position they had before COVID-19. Small businesses have closed and large employers have eliminated jobs, yet people still need health care. We must have a system that carries people through the good times as well as the tough times, when they are working and when they have lost their jobs. I support a public option addition to the ACA that provides a bridge for when times are hard. Additionally, I believe access to affordable health care must be independent of employment status and portable, meaning if you change or lose a job you can take your insurance with you if the new employer does not offer insurance or is more expensive. This protects against any gap in coverage going from one job to another.

Is the ACA perfect? No, but let’s make it better by keeping what works and fixing what does not. We must control the rising cost of premiums and deductibles for individuals that makes it hard for some to keep a plan. Current employer mandates must remain in place to ensure affordability. It makes no sense to throw out a successful system that has stood the test of time by decreasing the number of uninsured, in favor of a new unknown plan during one of the largest healthcare crises in our nation’s history. We need a system that provides access to more people, regulates the price of life-saving prescription drugs, and brings more transparency to upfront costs of care to eliminate surprise billing. We must ensure that all can access insurance even with a pre-existing condition, especially in these current times. That is why I support:

  • Developing new measures to help us recover from this pandemic and prevent a future one including expanding resources for testing, facilitating rapid vaccine development, increased production of PPE equipment, and strengthening the supply chain to deliver critical medical devices like ventilators
  • Providing access to affordable healthcare for everyone, regardless of employment status or location of residence
  • Requiring full and up-front price transparency for all treatments
  • Expanding Medicare to allow access at an earlier age and greater investment in Medicade to cover more children living below the poverty line
  • Stopping extreme attempts to cut Medicare, cut Medicaid and repeal ObamaCare
  • Fighting gross inequity in health care between the rich and the poor and those facing African Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans
  • Placing greater emphasis and incentives on education and preventative care to combat chronic diseases including diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and other preventable diseases
  • Expanding the use of telemedicine and adequately funding community health centers will help bridge the gap of affordability and access
  • Incentivizing physicians and other healthcare workers to practice in rural and low-income communities, beyond what currently exists

Finally, the addition of a public option will open a new pathway to medical care for those that cannot afford private insurance. To that end, I am not in favor of eliminating private insurance. Instead, lets improve the ACA to make it more attractive and affordable for everyone. Affordable healthcare is a fundamental right of every American citizen. Our Founding Fathers spoke of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” and each of those are impacted by our health.

  Immigration Reform

Our country is great due to the hard work of immigrants who contribute and helped build this great nation we so love.

Just as my family and so many before and since, they came seeking opportunity to take care of their families and to chart a new future. That is why the immigration issue is so important to me. I believe Immigration reform is a human rights and an economic issue and one that requires a bipartisan comprehensive approach to improve.

During my time working as a senate staff member, I helped countless families navigate the complexities of what was then the Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS), State Department, and consular officers in embassies across the world. I saw the immense challenges people had immigrating legally, much less how others enter illegally. We must reform the legal pathways to immigrate while mitigating the illegal paths others choose.

Immigrants help our nation meet our workforce requirements. Many are essential workers who are keeping our farming, agriculture and food supply moving, keeping restaurant going, individuals making sure our grocery stores are operating, and our trucking and transportation system workers ensuring products arrive at their intended destination.

I support a comprehensive approach to immigration reform that:

  • Improves border security and enforcement by redirecting funds for a border wall to more effective safety and security measures
  • Reforms the current inadequate quota system and waiting period for people from designated countries
  • End family seperation policies that orphans children left in the US when parents are deported
  • Continues US direct foreign aid directed at specific countries to stabilize the issues that cause people to come to the US illegally – lack of work in their home country, political persecution and violence, economic strife, food insecurity, climate change, amongst other issues
  • Stricter enforcement of temporary and visitor visas for those that overstay
  • Creates a temporary protective status that gives people a way to live and work in the US legally. Those that broke the law should make amends – pay a fine, pass a criminal background check, pay back taxes, work in an area deemed and essential service, low income community or other area with critical worker shortages, and meet a minimum residency requirement prior to gaining a legal or permanent residency status
  • Grants legal permanent residency with a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients
  • Tightens H1-B visa and other employer visa categories to deter those who use this status to usurp the system

It is long past the time to address the 11 million undocumented immigrants currently in the country. It is impractical to think we can deport them all, completely shut down our borders, or build a wall long and tall enough to keep people out of the country. It is simply not possible, nor practical. We need a bipartisan compromise and achievable solutions not divisive fear mongering rhetoric designed to drive division and fear, less partisanship, and more bipartisan compromise.

  Gun Control and the 2nd Amendment

I support the 2nd Amendment and my wife is a 29-year retired military veteran and she’s quite adept with a gun. 

I support the constitution – the 2nd and all the other amendments. I think we need common sense measures like ending the gun show loophole – to keep criminals and others from buying off the books guns at gun shows.   Bump stocks, AR-15, AK-47’s and other military weapons are not much help to sportsmen and women and I think they have to be reined in. We don’t need to be able to buy them at Walmart.