When I had the honor to serve in the Executive Office of the President, I read hundreds of letters from ordinary Americans every day. Each night, the president would read 10 of those letters. Some were uplifting, but many of them were tragically heartbreaking — struggles better left imagined than described.
I heard about what wakes you up in the morning, and keeps you up at night: Am I one sickness away from losing my home? I haven’t had a raise in years and my family is barely making it paycheck to paycheck, what if something happens to me? Am I going to have to miss another birthday or Christmas with my children just to put food on the table and clothes on their backs? Will I ever be able to save enough to put my kids through school and retire with dignity? Can we dream the American dream, or are we going to spend the next 4 or 8 years living a nightmare?
I read those kinds of stories with tears in my eyes, thinking about my single mom. Abigail Campa, the modest Catholic daughter of an orphaned migrant farm worker, showed me through a divorce, a broken heart, being broke, different jobs — including working as a family doctor’s receptionist, applying to work at Wal-Mart in her 50s, and eventually working in real estate — that you can dust yourself off and start again. She showed me there’s dignity in a hard day’s work, and that your work doesn’t define you, it reveals you.
My mother repeatedly inconvenienced her life for mine, whether it was choosing to live in a war zone just so her boys could have their father or interrupting her work to drive me home from school and to soccer games, church and band practice. Her pain was turned into purpose, to show her children all true love can do.
Today, I am running for congress to fight for my mother, all women and the women of future generations.
If elected, I will stand up for:
Millions of uninsured Americans have received access to healthcare through the Affordable Care Act (ACA), including 46,000 residents of CA50. While it has serious flaws, it has advanced our nation closer to the universal coverage offered by other industrialized countries.
Congress must fix the ACA, not undermine it and tear it down with nothing to replace it. We need to break through political gridlock in Washington and get on with the people’s business.
If elected, I would vote to take immediate action to (1) lower the cost of prescription drugs by having Medicare negotiate prices, (2) provide a public option to compete with the private sector based on who provides lower costs and higher quality service and (3) as a short-term solution, allow individuals ages 50-64 years old to buy into early medicare.
Pregnancy and childbirth care for women, mental health care and addiction, prescription drugs, hospitalization, emergency services, devices for people with disabilities and other essential health benefits required under ACA must be preserved.
I pledge to oppose any effort to defund the ACA, limit access to coverage, reduce essential benefits, reintroduce lifetime caps, restrict coverage for people with pre-existing conditions or reduce access for people with low incomes by raising premiums.
But even with these fixes, ACA still falls short of the mark of universal coverage and costs too much for many Americans. Medical costs continue to rise, making ACA coverage unaffordable and inaccessible for tens of millions of Americans.
TRICARE, the military’s healthcare program, and Medicare have both proven to provide more affordable care than the private insurance system does. We should learn from these successful models and expand them for everyone.
That’s why Congress must move toward Medicare for All.
Many wounded veterans, cancer patients, and recovering opioid addicts have successfully incorporated medicinal cannabis into their treatment. In fact, studies have shown that medicinal cannabis can help heal the human brain after years of opioid abuse by reconnecting synapses and neural networks. If elected, I will support de-scheduling cannabis and fund research to examine it as a natural alternative to often lethal prescription drugs such as opioids, depressants, and amphetamines.
I believe the best way to offer every American healthcare security, while lowering the costs of care, would be a health care program known as Medicare for All. It is the best way to advance our society toward health justice.
I’d proudly join those supporting H.R. 676. According to Physicians for a National Health Program, 95 percent of all households would save money under Medicare for All. No more co-pays and deductibles, more free choice of doctor and hospital, and doctors would regain autonomy over patient care. It’s a win-win for patients and doctors.
Today’s costs are unjustifiably high. Americans spent $3.4 trillion on healthcare last year. Prescription drug costs today are obscene and the same surgical procedure costs thousands of dollars more at a facility across town.
A Medicare for All system would set prices for medical services and prescription drugs. It could eliminate deductibles, co-pays, premiums and caps on cost-sharing. It could also promote better care, and reduce unnecessary services, through evidence-based guidelines. Removing private insurance industry profits from the system frees billions of dollars for providing healthcare to more Americans.
If elected to Congress, I would be proud to support Medicare for All.
Sick children and pregnant women should always have quality healthcare. I would vote for permanent authorization of the CHIP program on its merits.