"It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver." ― Mahatma Gandhi
The crisis we are facing due to the Coronavirus has laid bare the widespread problems we have in our healthcare system. Access to testing and critical equipment has been dictated by market forces rather than patient needs. The uninsured and underinsured face heartbreaking choices between financial ruin and death. Millions are losing their jobs, and with them, their insurance.
As this crisis unfolds, I am renewing my commitment to the constituents of Texas 31 to fight to fix these issues once I am elected. I will draw on my decades of experience as a front-line physician, former owner of a medical practice, and activist fighting on behalf of my community. This unique combination of experiences perfectly positions me to take on this fight: I know the strengths and weaknesses of the system and how to improve it.
Those who have followed my work know that I have long been a proponent of Universal Healthcare with a Single Payer payment system.
Universal Healthcare is self-explanatory: every American will be covered from birth to death, with no exceptions for pre-existing conditions, job loss, or for any other reason. You will have the security of knowing your insurance cannot lapse or be cancelled, and the freedom to use the doctors and facilities of your choice.
Single Payer is the most efficient, cost-effective way to achieve Universal Coverage. Over the decades I have been a strong advocate and supporter of Single Payer systems at both the state and federal level, including The Healthy Texas Act, Medicare for All (in all its forms), Medicaid for All, as well as the Canadian version of Medicare for All; and including any plan that achieves Universal Healthcare. I have worked with Texas State Representative Gina Hinojosa, former Texas Agriculture Secretary Jim Hightower, and Our Revolution Texas in the effort to enact Single Payer Healthcare in Texas. I am a supporter and signatory with Physicians for a National Health Plan, the largest physician group in the country fighting for Medicare for All. I have been endorsed by Demand Universal Healthcare Now because of my years of work advocating for all Americans to have coverage.
As a member of Congress, I will sponsor all of the plans that get Americans the care that they need, and will fight to make the transition as smoothly and quickly as possible. While our Congress has dithered and delayed critical work on this issue, I've been working from outside government to assure the health and safety of my patients and my community. With your help, I will work from inside Congress to get this job done.
Please stay safe during this crisis. Watch for my online Town Halls. Sign up for our email updates. We will come out on the other side of this stronger.
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The United States must work toward the goal of access to healthcare for all its citizens. Unlike other industrialized countries, access to healthcare in the US is rationed according to a citizen’s ability to pay. This has led to great disparities in health outcomes between the poorest and the richest in our nation. As a primary care physician, I have seen first-hand the damaging effects that lack of access to care has had on those who cannot pay. The healthcare community is united in asserting that we must take steps to protect the vulnerable in their healthcare needs.
The GOP Congress, including the incumbent John Carter, has continued to attack the Affordable Care Act, leading to a weakening of its protections. In 2018, 1.1 million people lost their coverage. It is vital that we protect patients as soon as we take back the Senate and the Presidency in 2020.
We must enact legislation that will lead to Universal Coverage as quickly as possible. While there are many options to achieve this goal, including Single Payer and public-private hybrid plans, I have advocated for Single Payer since 2009. While other systems may sound attractive, Single Payer is the least expensive, most expansive option, and it removes the profit motive from healthcare. The public agrees: current polling shows that 82% of Democrats, 66% of Independents, and 50% of Republicans support Single Payer Healthcare.
Because the healthcare system encompasses one-sixth of our economy, I am in favor of a transitional approach that minimizes disruption to the economy and our work force, while rapidly bringing coverage to those most at risk. This would initially include lowering the Medicare eligibility age to 55 and automatically enrolling all newborns into this system. We will then lower Medicare eligibility in increments until all Americans are covered.
While we work to transform out healthcare system, we must take the following steps to protect patients:
Immediately expand Medicaid. We must provide access to healthcare to our most vulnerable citizens. This could be done under existing law.
Immediately provide a Public Option. We must improve access to all citizens immediately as we reconstruct the entire system.
Immediately make ACA subsidies more generous so enrollees can more easily afford their plans. Access to healthcare is a human right. It is our duty to create a system that supports our fellow citizens.