On Sunday, July 19, the MOMocrats cohosted a brunch with the Silicon Valley Moms Group after the BlogHer Conference in San Francisco. We turned our social session into a working session, putting our collective knowledge together to create a position paper to be submitted to the Democratic National Committee for inclusion in the party platform. This is the result of that meeting, and we invite our readers to comment and add ideas or ask questions. We will submit this to the DNC on Sunday, July 27 as part of a nationwide series of community platform-building meetings.
We believe that our nation’s system of healthcare is in need of reform. We believe that it will take a unified effort, through government, private, non-profit, and citizen action to effectuate change in this area.
In the coming years, the government must take a hard look at the following areas:
• Providing affordable coverage to the uninsured and under-insured, including long-term disability care.
• Ensuring access for all Americans to affordable, quality healthcare and preventive healthcare, by eliminating disparities in quality of care based on race or economic disadvantage and healthcare rationing.
• Reforming and improving the existing care provided to Veterans, Seniors, the disabled and low-income individuals.
• Alleviating the economic burden on local governments who now bear the brunt of costs not covered by state and federal agencies for the uninsured;
• Eliminating corruption in public health agencies;
• Promoting reproductive justice by:
o keeping abortion safe and legal;
o minimizing the need for abortions through better sex education and birth control;
o providing pre-natal and post-natal care for all mothers
o providing information and support for greater birth choices.
o Eliminating the HHS rule changes that permit doctors to deny care to patients based on their beliefs about contraception.
• Reducing the burden on small businesses through tax credits and incentives to provide healthcare for all employees.
• Giving an equal emphasis on mental health, preventive healthcare, nutrition services, and further research on green vaccines and lower cost alternative medicines.
• Giving consumers a means of assessing the quality of care.
• Eliminating pre-existing conditions as a basis for denial of health insurance for all, not just group policy holders.
• Better access to healthcare in schools, particularly in:
o School health clinics
o Sex Education
o Health information
• Improving care for terminally or chronically ill and services for family members of those who suffer from such illnesses.
Further, we challenge President Obama to sign the SCHIP Bill into law within the first 30 days of his administration, as a show of good faith and his commitment to changing America’s healthcare policies to cover the youngest among us.
We believe that crisis in healthcare requires creative solutions that should not be dictated by pharmaceutical and insurance companies or by any single government agency. We believe that moving forward, we will need to create strategic partnerships with corporations, non-profits, government agencies, and private citizen groups to come up with these solutions.
We believe that this should start by first analyzing successful programs, and providing a series of grants to replicate these programs nationwide. We should highlight our successes, and focus on a positive message, putting successful programs in the spotlight and encouraging their growth. We need to look for successes in other countries and benchmark how we might replicate successful programs within the US, on a community level.
Any program we undertake to effectuate real change should have distinct and measurable goals.
We do not believe that raising taxes is the only way to pay for new programs or expansion. We think that all levels of government (federal, state and local) should root out waste, eliminate programs that don’t work, and tap into grassroots organizing successes to find ways to mobilize people to act in their local communities and through online community-building activities. For example, sending members of Congress into war zones on fact-finding missions costs taxpayers millions of dollars, and increases the need for contractors to provide security details, and takes away members of the military from their mission.
We believe that the Pentagon should undergo an extensive audit and military contractors should be under heavy scrutiny to determine how they add value to our efforts abroad. Additionally, the government should make serious efforts to collect on fines imposed on Superfund sites and use those fines to pay for healthcare in the affected areas.
We believe that there are opportunities to improve healthcare for our children through the public school system, by increasing the number of school health clinics and adding health to the measure of a successful school. Every school should have as a goal minimal healthcare coverage for every child, and provide information to parents who are uninsured or underinsured on how they can secure affordable healthcare for their children. One source of information for such programs might be through pharmaceutical and healthcare provider community outreach programs.
As a nation, we need to look at long-term benefits of insuring all children versus the current system of expensive, ineffective emergency room care for uninsured children. We believe that our individual health and wellness has a direct impact on our nation’s economy, and that by improving healthcare, we improve our fiscal, social, and physical well-being.
If you would like to submit your own "plank" to the Democratic Platform, click here to find out how to do and how to submit it.
Photo Credit: Stephanie Himel-Nelson, copyright 2008, used with permission. All Rights Reserved.