Strengthening the health and wellness of us all
There is nothing more critical than the health and well-being of our loved ones and families. But for too many, a health crisis can become a financial catastrophe. No one should have to worry about whether they can afford to care for a sick child or parent, or have to choose between putting food on the table or filling a prescription.
This global pandemic has put a magnifying glass on our societal values and health and economic inequities that have existed for many years. More than ever, the flaws of how our systems of health and wellness are designed and executed are in stark view. We see that we are all only as healthy as the least healthy member of our community. While the data show that Black and brown communities are more likely to contract and die from COVID-19, even though they make up a smaller percentage of the population.
An investment in access to quality, affordable health care is an investment in racial equity. For our state, our communities, and our families to thrive, ensuring access to health care is absolutely essential.
As I run to be your representative in the 37th district, I look at families and communities through the lens of health and wellness. I believe we must broaden our concept of health to ensure that when we talk about health, we are also talking about ensuring everyone can meet their basic needs – no matter what type of global and economic challenges we are weathering.
To that end, here are some of my ideas for strengthening the health and wellness of us all:
Strengthen access to quality health care: Everyone in our community deserves access to care – including physical and mental health. Yet too many healthcare, mental health, and dental providers do not accept Medicaid Apple Health and turn away people in need. That is why I want to significantly raise our state’s Medicaid reimbursement rates so we can make it financially viable for more medical providers to accept people on Apple Health and ensure they get the care they need when they need it.
For Washingtonians who do not get employer-based health care but earn too much to qualify for Apple Health or Affordable Care Act subsidies, the cost of market-based healthcare has skyrocketed. That is why I support the implementation of Cascade Care, a public option alternative to the private market. I am committed to ensuring this option creates a real cost-saving option for working families – even as our state faces budget pressure. Dollars invested in health care are always smart investments, especially during a pandemic.
Ensure a social safety net that works for everyone: Health is not just about being able to go to the doctor. The foundations of health are having a safe, stable home; access to quality food; and connection to a network of healthy relationships. I am committed to ensuring our state invests in the supportive services that keep families and community members safe, housed, and able to meet their basic needs while they get back on their feet – whether they are navigating a job loss, a health crisis, or family violence. And I will work to ensure these programs are rooted in the trust and dignity of the people who need them.
Now, more than ever, we need our social safety net to be responsive to our community’s needs. I will work to ensure our state programs serve all families who need support.
I have led state-level efforts to invest in our social safety net and behavioral health programs, and I will continue to work to fully restore recession-era cuts to our social safety net program for families who are struggling to reach economic stability. Data from Washington state shows that these state budget cuts disproportionately harm Black and Native families as they are more likely than other racial or ethnic groups to be removed from the public assistance programs.
Now, more than ever, we need our social safety net to be responsive to our community’s needs. I will work to ensure our state programs serve all families who need support. I will also back the newly created State Office of Equity in holding state agencies accountable for addressing inequities in services and programs.
What does health look like for you and your family? So many things contribute to creating a healthy community. I would love to hear your ideas about how I can champion health and wellness. Please be in touch.