Ensure the Health and Safety of All Americans
Democrats have been fighting to secure universal health care for the American people for generations. We are proud to be the party that passed Medicare, Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act (ACA). We are going to fight to make sure every American has access to quality, affordable health care. We will tackle the problems that remain in our health care system, including cracking down on runaway prescription drug prices and addressing mental health with the same seriousness that we treat physical health. We will fight Republican efforts to roll back the clock on women’s health and reproductive rights, and stand up for Planned Parenthood. And we will tackle the epidemics of substance abuse and gun violence, both of which claim tens of thousands of lives every year.
Securing Universal Health Care
Democrats believe health care is a right not a privilege, and the health care system should put people before profits.
The Affordable Care Act has covered 20 million more Americans and ensured millions more will never be denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition. Beyond this Democrats will fight for the guarantee that Americans should be able to access public coverage through a public option, and that those over 55 should be able to opt in to Medicare. Democrats want to empower the states, to use innovation waivers under the ACA to tailor approaches to health coverage and ensure universal care for every person in each state.
Democrats will work to bring down health care costs; this includes ending surprise billings and other practices that create excessive medical debt, repealing the excise tax on high-cost health insurance, making premiums more affordable, reducing out-of-pocket expenses, capping prescription drug costs, and fighting excessive premium increases.
We will fight any attempt to ‘phase out’ Medicare as we know it; we will fight any plan to reduce funding to Medicaid and SNAP, programs that help millions of Americans.
We believe all health care services should be culturally and linguistically appropriate, and that neither fear nor immigration status should be barriers to accessing health care.
Supporting Community Health Centers
Democrats remain committed to Community Health Centers, which would include mental health and family planning. We will fight for a comprehensive system of primary health care by increasing funding for federally qualified community health centers, which currently serve 25 million people. To support these centers we will also fight to train and support the workforce, encourage providers to work with under-served populations through the National Health Service Corps, and create a comprehensive strategy to increase the pool of primary health care professionals.
Reducing Prescription Drug Costs
On prescription drug costs: Democrats will crack down on price gouging by drug companies and cap out-of-pocket monthly costs on prescription drugs. We will prohibit anti-competitive ‘pay for delay’ deals that keep generic drugs off the market. We ill allow individuals, pharmacists and wholesalers to import prescription drugs from licensed pharmacies in Canada and other countries with appropriate safety protections. We will also fight to make sure Medicaid negotiates lower prices with drug manufacturers.
Enabling Cutting-Edge Medical Research
Democrats believe in the need to accelerate medical progress, invest in and give resources to scientists, make progress against diseases such as Alzheimer’s, HIV and AIDs, cancer and other conditions, especially chronic. We recognize the importance of a fully funded National Institutes of Health to accelerate the pace of medical progress.
Combating Drug and Alcohol Addiction
We must confront the drug and alcohol epidemic by expanding access to prevention and treatment, supporting recovery, helping communities promote better practices by prescribers. We must help the estimated 20 million people struggling with addiction by encouraging full recovery and integration to society, working to remove barriers to gainful employment, housing, education.
We should also do more to educate our youth, their families, teachers, coaches, mentors, friends to intervene early to prevent drug and alcohol addiction. We should help state and local leaders establish prevention programs which would include education, community-based peer mentorship and leadership programs, and after-school activities that deter drug use and teach life skills.
Treating Mental Health
We must treat mental health issues with the same care and seriousness as we do physical health, support a robust mental health workforce, promote better integration of behavioral and general health care systems. We will work with health professionals to ensure all children have access to mental health care. We will work to expand community-based treatment for substance abuse disorders and mental health conditions and fully enforce our parity law. We should create a national initiative around suicide prevention, move towards Zero Suicide commitment.
Supporting Those Living with Autism and their Families
Democrats believe in supporting the millions with autism and their families. We will conduct a nationwide early screening program for autism, expand services and support for autistic individuals transitioning into adulthood, include employment and housing assistance. We will push states to require insurance coverage for autism services in private insurance plans as well as state marketplaces.
Securing Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice
Democrats are committed to protecting and advancing reproductive health, rights, and justice. Every woman should have access to quality reproductive health services, including safe and legal abortion. We will oppose efforts to defund Planned Parenthood health centers, which provide critical health care to millions. We continue to oppose federal and state laws and policies tha impede a woman’s access to abortion. We will defend the ACA, which extends affordable preventative health care to women including no-cost contraception, and prohibits discrimination based on gender.
We will address discrimination and barriers to reproductive health care, including those based on gender, sexuality, race, income, disability, and other factors. We recognize that quality affordable health care, evidence-based sex education, and family planning services help reduce unwanted pregnancies, and hence the need for abortions.
We strongly unequivocally support a woman’s decision to have a child, including services during pregnancy and after birth, including adoption and social support services, as well as protection to women against pregnancy discrimination.
For more details on the Democratic platform on health care visit: https://www.democrats.org/party-platform#healthcare