Juana believes that having access to quality, affordable healthcare is a fundamental human right, period.
Today, 28 million Americans do not have health insurance – numbers that have gone up since President Trump took office. Many more are underinsured or cannot afford their deductibles and copays. Hundreds of thousands of Americans file for bankruptcy every year because of out of control medical bills. About 1 in 3 Americans have delayed necessary treatments because of their cost. At the same time, our country pays about twice as much for healthcare as other developed countries – but we don’t get better results. That’s unacceptable.
For Juana, this is a deeply personal issue. Five years ago, her father Arcenio was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. If it weren’t for MassHealth, she and her family would not have had those nine extra months with him before he lost his fight with the disease. However, even with MassHealth, Juana had to spend countless hours on the phone fighting to ensure that he would keep his coverage so he could continue the chemotherapy and radiation treatment he needed.
No family should have to choose between essential health care and putting food on the table. Yet for too many people, a catastrophic illness comes with costs they cannot afford and the threat of losing their access to healthcare. We need universal health care now.
Protect and improve the Affordable Care Act
The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) has made affordable healthcare available for tens of millions of Americans, outlawed discrimination by insurance companies on the basis of pre-existing conditions, expanded Medicaid, extended the lifetime of Medicare, and put important limits on out-of-pocket costs to ensure Americans don’t go bankrupt because of healthcare costs. And it made it possible for families like Juana’s to afford the quality care they needed in a moment of crisis.
Although imperfect, the ACA was an enormous step in the right direction. In the 3rd District, 44,000 people are at risk of losing their health insurance if the ACA is repealed. We should strengthen the ACA, instead of undermining it as the Trump Administration has done.
As our Congresswoman, Juana will fight to:
· Reduce overall out-of-pocket costs for working and middle-class families, by expanding the cap on household insurance costs to all families (instead of to only those making up to 400% of the federal poverty level) and lowering the overall cap on cost sharing per family.
· Ensure pre-existing conditions remain covered under all circumstances, a provision under attack by Republicans and President Trump.
· Increase transparency so patients know that they’re getting great care and a good value.
· Restore the individual mandate which will reduce premiums overall and help achieve universal coverage.
· Expand payment system changes and putting the health outcomes of patients first, increasing quality of care and reducing costs.
· Fix various issues such as the “Family Glitch”, the complexity of the tax credit program, and better protections from unexpected high balance billing.
Work towards “Medicare for All”
Our overly complex system with employer-based insurance, individual insurance, Medicaid, Medicare, and the uninsured using emergency rooms is not working. Employers, especially small-businesses, should compete on the wages they provide instead of on the quality of their health plans. Workers should be free to switch jobs without having to worry about their health coverage. Everyone should be covered from cradle to grave. Moving toward this system will take time, but we can start taking steps to get there:
As our Congresswoman Juana will fight to:
· Offer Medicare as a public option available to everyone on all ACA exchanges, allowing anyone to chose to enroll in Medicare instead of one of the private insurance offerings.
· Reduce the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 55.
· Allow employers to offer Medicare to their employees, so that any small business can be competitive with large businesses through offering health insurance, while helping the country move toward Medicare for all.
Reduce Overall Costs in our Healthcare System
We pay twice the average of other developed nations for our healthcare and don’t get better outcomes. We should address administrative overhead, run-away prescription drug costs, overtreatment, and more.
As our Congresswoman Juana will work to:
· Reduce prescription drug costs as some pharmaceutical companies charge outrageous prices for drugs on which they have a monopoly. The same drugs that we buy in the U.S. are often available in other developed countries like Canada and Europe at half the price or less. Allowing Medicare to bargain for better drug prices and for the reimportation of drugs, or requiring most-favored nation clauses compared to other developed nations, are some of the measures that could bring down prescription drug costs.
· Advocate for reduced administrative overhead as approximately 30% of the total Healthcare cost is in overhead. Ultimately Medicare-for-All will significantly reduce those costs as its overhead is less than 5%.
Protect Specialized Services
The Trump Administration has tried to undermine access to healthcare services for specific groups including women and children and those living in poverty. Juana will stand firm for those who need our protection most.
As our Congresswoman Juana will fight to protect:
· Planned Parenthood and other title X funded organizations that provide important services that include access to family planning and critical health care. Juana will never compromise on a woman’s right to choose.
· CHIP, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which provides health insurance to almost 10 million children in poor families and disproportionately benefits children of color. CHIP has been on the chopping block under President Trump and House Republicans leadership. We must fight back against their attacks on children, especially those most in need.
· Medicaid against attempts to defund or block-grant it. Because of the Medicaid expansion, millions of Americans across our country have access to quality healthcare, and we need to defend these important protections for Americans.