Every American deserves quality affordable and accessible health care with lower out-of-pocket expenses and premiums. By expanding and investing in healthcare coverage we can improve it instead of dismantling it, and protect Americans with pre-existing conditions. No family should ever have to make the choice between paying an emergency medical bill or putting food on the table. In Congress ensuring that every American has quality affordable coverage will be my top priority.
The United States spends more money on healthcare than almost any other country in the world and we have little to show for it. If we want this to change, we must reduce hospital and pharmaceutical costs through managed competition and create a public option to lower costs and compete with private insurance.
As the child of Taiwanese immigrants who escaped martial law and worked hard to make the U.S. their home, it is inconceivable that Americans often must leave this country to obtain more affordable healthcare services abroad. The United States is the greatest country in the world and we can and must do better.
My health care plan ensures quality care, reduces prescription drug prices, and streamlines hospital fees, all while making insurance more affordable and shoring up services for veterans, women, seniors, and other vulnerable populations.
Quality Health Care
It is paramount that every American has access to the highest quality healthcare, including mental health care, that fits their individual needs. Simple steps towards that include:
- Expanding access to preventative treatment and testing to help prevent illness and lower healthcare costs.
- Requiring hospital billing transparency, so patients understand true upfront costs.
- Strengthening at-home care by paying caregivers a fair wage and improving their occupational environment.
- Creating forgivable education loans and more efficient pipelines to dramatically increase the number of physicians and hospital technicians.
Lowering Prescription Drug Prices
It is unacceptable that many Americans live in forced poverty due to the overwhelming cost of life-sustaining drugs, and that one in four Americans taking prescription drugs has difficulty affording their medicine. We must empower public healthcare systems to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies to reduce the cost of prescription drugs. The contracts negotiated by Medicare will pave the way and enable private insurers to use the negotiated standards to achieve more cost-effective contracts themselves.
Additionally, we must close loopholes that allow pharmaceutical companies to make superficial “improvements” to drugs in order to extend their patents and keep drug costs exorbitantly high. We must prosecute Illegal “pay-to-delay” schemes that prevent low-cost and generic drugs from reaching consumers.
Finally, we must better regulate pharmaceutical advertisements. The United States is one of only three countries worldwide that allows prescription products to be marketed directly to consumers, and one of only two countries that allows advertisements to include product claims.
Reducing Health Insurance Costs
Congress must prioritize protecting and strengthening the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to lower deductibles and expand prescription coverage.
After shoring up the ACA, I will support a public option health insurance plan available to all who choose it, ensuring that every American has access to quality affordable coverage while empowering anyone who likes their private insurance to keep it.
A public option will promote efficiency by homogenizing reimbursement rates, lessening administrative burdens, and slashing needless waste.
Minimizing Hospital Costs
Too many hospitals are charging inflated prices for medications, testing, and other services. This is evidenced by lower pricing at non-hospital ambulatory surgical centers and other third party providers.
I will work to require hospital billing transparency, so patients know the upfront costs. This will not only improve the consumer experience, but will disincentivize the practice of passing on hidden fees directly to patients.
Congress can curb these unnecessary costs by enabling Medicaid, Medicare, and any other public healthcare option to reimburse hospitals at a rate consistent with a fee schedule offered by third party health care providers.
As we learn to live with COVID-19 and return to a pre-pandemic economy we must commit the resources necessary to implement long term, widespread testing services. In particular we must prioritize expanding access to free at-home testing kits. In Congress I will work to increase and sustain investment in manufacturing tests and in-person testing sites. We must adopt a serious long-term approach that promotes in-person learning, working, and economic revitalization.
Covid-19 isn’t the only health crisis Americans are facing; we need to change the nation’s response to the opioid epidemic to help address the use and misuse of these prescription drugs and expand the treatment services available to Americans.
We must make an increased and sustained investment in mental health and substance abuse programs, significantly reduce the cost of inpatient rehabilitation centers, and dramatically Increase the number of mental health providers available to patients.
In Congress I will fight all efforts to defund service providers who deliver vital preventative and reproductive health care services. We cannot achieve gender equity until safe and legal access to abortion is protected for every woman. Health care decisions should be made between a woman and her doctor, not politicians.
Additionally, I will work to eliminate racial disparities in maternal and infant mortality by screening and treating women at risk for preterm birth, creating standardized assessments for mothers and infants, identifying barriers to accessing health services including mental health services, and improving data collection and oversight.
Finally, I will work to ensure that every family has the security to take the time they need to care for their loved ones by promoting paid family leave.
As a veteran it pains me to see fellow soldiers fall into homelessness when stronger healthcare services could have gotten them back on their feet. It is a stain on this country that veterans are struggling to get the physical and behavioral healthcare they need. In Congress I will support expanding mental health and suicide prevention services for all those who sacrifice for our country. We must make a larger investment in mental health services not only for our veterans, but for students, seniors, and anyone else who needs it.
The men and women who have fought for our country deserve the best healthcare and support services. That’s why in Congress I will work to streamline the VA, make it easier for younger veterans to enter the system, ensure quicker access to treatment, and make sure that all veterans can access the health care they deserve.
No veteran should have to travel hours to see a VA health provider. We must expand telehealth services and ensure that veteran benefits extend to all healthcare facilities so that former service members can get the care they deserve.