Everyone in our country should have access to affordable health care. When I worked at Legal Aid, I saw firsthand the devastating effects caused by a lack of accessible health care. This, along with my experience on the Health Care Committee in the Oregon House of Representatives, further cemented my conviction that quality health care must be accessible to all and that increased access will drive down costs. When people have access to primary and preventive care, they avoid high-cost health care in emergency rooms. This results in fewer instances of chronic disease and better outcomes at a lower cost.
Affordable health care includes mental health services. As a member of the Mental Health Caucus, I understand the importance of ensuring that those with mental illness receive proper care and treatment.
A focus on prevention, both in the doctor’s office and at home, is also key to ensuring a healthy future for our country. I am a cosponsor of the Personal Health Investment Today Act, which provides tax incentives for citizens who purchase exercise equipment, join gyms, and stay active. Additionally oral health has a significant impact not only on our physical health, but also in our day-to-day lives and our children’s success at school. When kids are suffering in the classroom with dental problems, they are not concentrating and they are not learning. The Breaking Barriers to Oral Health Act, which I have cosponsored, will help remedy this problem by encouraging public-private partnerships to improve oral education for underserved populations and improve access to dental health care for low-income children.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH), other government health agencies, and the exceptional research institutions in Oregon make valuable contributions to the health of our country. Continued investment in their research is essential. I support robust funding for the NIH, which does its own research and also awards grants across the country to increase our understanding of diseases, develop treatments, and find cures. Additionally I have cosponsored bills to support research in pancreatic cancer, psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, breast cancer, bleeding disorders, Down syndrome, and rare diseases.
Another issue impacting the country’s health care system is the nationwide shortage of nurses. Nurses and nurse practitioners perform a crucial role in doctors’ offices, hospitals, and schools, and we must give them the support they need. I have consistently advocated for nursing workforce development programs and will continue to fight to ensure they are funded.