Healthcare for All
I served at HHS during the Obama Administration and was a proud member of the original team that implemented the ACA and brought healthcare to millions of Americans. Given my personal connection to this issue, it is one I will fiercely defend and promote. All Americans need access to quality, affordable healthcare, without bias based on the color of their skin or how much money they have in the bank. Further, I believe comprehensive healthcare needs to be inclusive of mental illness, disabilities, and addiction.
Raise Awareness of Health + Hospitals:
Mayor de Blasio’s new proposal, NYC Care, is a step in the right direction: we should certainly be incentivizing preventive care rather than setting up a system where individuals can’t afford medical care and wait until an issue is emergent before seeking treatment. Much of what has been proposed is already accessible through Health+Hospitals and NYC’s MetroPlus program (a public option insurance program that many New Yorkers are not taking advantage of because they don't realize they are eligible for these services). As Public Advocate I would help to ensure that all New Yorkers know their eligibility under these programs, specifically their ability to access preventive, outpatient care regardless of immigration or insurance status.
Access to Comprehensive Health Care Services:
Healthcare is a human right, and lower income families and individuals are too often being denied the care they deserve. We cannot allow ‘health deserts’ to exist as services disappear in low-income communities. People don’t just need access to coverage – but also access to nearby facilities with the services necessary to treat them. In emergency situations, travel time could mean the difference between life and death. We must ensure there is Emergency Room care that is accessible to every part of the city. We should also ensure that all communities have access to primary care services and can access preventive medicine. It is important that each community have access to proper services within a reasonable distance to ensure a fair and just healthcare system.
Advocate for Black Mothers and Babies:
One area we need to pay particular attention is the mortality rate among black mothers and babies. As a recent New York Times article pointed out, black infants in America are more than twice as likely to die as white infants - a racial disparity wider than in 1850, 15 years before the end of slavery. And Black women with an advanced degree are more likely to lose babies than white women with less than an eighth grade education.
As a black mother I have experienced this disparity firsthand: my son was born in an under-resourced hospital and I saw the disparities in treatment there versus another more resourced hospital in the city where my other son was born. To add insult to injury, doctors and nurses at the hospital repeatedly attempted to force long-term contraceptives on me despite my repeated assurances that I was perfectly capable of making my own healthcare decisions.