American families pay more for healthcare than any other developed nation- we spent $3.65 trillion dollars in 2018- but our health outcomes don't match how much we pay. We have to learn from the best (and worst) strategies being used around the world to create a usable system that meets the needs of all Americans and reduces costs. Reorganizing how we pay for our care should focus on reducing prescription drug costs, standardizing fees, and getting rid of deductibles.
Our military service members seeking care through the Department of Veteran's Affairs are experiencing unacceptable delays, and reorganizing our healthcare system will reduce wait times and increase the number of facilities veterans can use. We appreciate your service, and you deserve excellent care.
How we generate electricity is a matter of national security; we can't afford to stay dependent on fossil fuels as our main source of energy. Developing and installing renewable sources and energy storage systems will create reliable energy that doesn't take us to war or keep us dependent on sources that will run out and pollute our air. The investment we make now will cost us less in the long run because the equipment outlasts the time it takes to pay it off.
It's very important that we don't leave the people who currently work to power our communities without jobs- we can train individuals currently working in mining and facility operation to manufacture, install, and maintain sources such as solar or wind power. This provides a fair way to transition that doesn't leave hard-working Americans out of a job. Renewable energy is also a great field for military service members re-entering the civilian workforce.
Our Founding Fathers said that all people have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that requires a paycheck that actually meets a family's needs. The Federal Minimum Wage does not match the actual cost of living, but corporations, shareholders, and CEO's are pocketing huge profits and avoiding taxes. This makes average Americans pick up the bill to help families make ends meet. The minimum wage must be raised to meet the current cost of living and adjusted every year for inflation, and companies must pay their taxes.
In 1933, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt said “No business which depends for existence on paying less than living wages to its workers has any right to continue in this country.... By living wages, I mean more than a bare subsistence level — I mean the wages of a decent living.” (1933, Statement on the National Industrial Recovery Act)
The Supreme Court's ruling in Citizens United vs the Federal Election Commission declared that corporations have the same rights as actual people, so they can spend money to influence elections. It does not protect Americans who don't have millions to spend on elections- when you're struggling to put food on the table because your job doesn't pay a decent wage, even finding ten bucks to give to a campaign is a struggle. This makes the government work for the companies and rich people who already have money, not protect those who need it most. We need a constitutional amendment to clean up our elections; it should include a nationwide mail ballot system with automatic voter registration, and elections should be publicly financed. Removing fundraising as part of the campaign process will give candidates time to talk to constituents and work on legislation when they're in Washington D.C. instead of wooing rich people and corporations.
Everyone needs excellent public education from preschool through college or trade school, and getting an education should not hurt anyone's financial well-being. High quality, debt-free education will create a stronger economy and reduce burdens on families and the government. Eliminating student debt will be a huge benefit to our economy since people will be able to get better jobs and invest the money currently going toward loan payments in a home, starting a family, or saving for retirement.
Reproductive health is private, and all decisions are made by the person and their doctor. Reorganizing our healthcare to a national system will remove the burden some religious employers experience because of their personal religious beliefs.
People who do not support abortion will be happy to hear that providing education and contraception is very effective for reducing unwanted pregnancy and abortion; we proved it right here at home with the Colorado Family Planning Initiative. "The CFPI drove a 50 percent reduction in teen births and abortions, avoided nearly $70 million in public assistance costs and empowered thousands of young women to make their own choices on when or whether to start a family." Laws that block access to abortion don't reduce the number that happen, they only move them out of the safe doctor's office and into a back alley.
Marriage is a civil right, and discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity is unacceptable. Personal beliefs are not an excuse to refuse services or employment.
Transgender individuals who wish to serve our country in the US military should be welcomed with the same gratitude that other volunteers receive.
We are a nation of immigrants; the policy of imprisoning asylum seekers and separating families arriving at our southern border is cruel. These people are fleeing violence and poverty to make a better life for their families, and it is much more American to welcome them and hire enough personnel to process their claims efficiently than spending $3 billion dollars a year to jail them and rip apart families. Immigration reform has to include a path to citizenship for childhood arrivals, and we can't accept the Trump administration illegally seizing Americans' private property and stealing funds from other programs to "build the wall."
People who volunteer to serve in our military have be treated with the dignity and respect they deserve. Meeting their needs requires reorganizing our healthcare system to cover all Americans with excellent healthcare. The delays they are currently experiencing with the Department of Veterans Affairs can be solved by filling the thousands of job openings to help our service members navigate the benefits guaranteed by their service to our country.
America spends more than $75 billion dollars on prisons every year- that's $10 billion more than we spend on education. A successful prison system has to work to make sure that people do not return after serving their sentence; running prisons for profit does not motivate providers to reduce repeat offenders or provide education that gets people employed and contributing to society. We have to stop treating addiction and mental illness as a crime and address the justice department decisions that lock up more minorities than white people who commit the same crimes.
Congress needs a database
that voters can search to make sure that our representatives actually address the messages we send. Every call, postcard, and email needs to be sorted into a system that can be easily viewed by the public. If we can see what the voters are asking for and compare it to what our representatives are doing, we can make better choices about who we vote to keep in office.
I am a traditionalist- we need to work toward the "well-regulated" provision of the Second Amendment written by our Founding Fathers. I support universal background checks for all firearm sales, nationally standardized education and licensing programs, prohibitions for abusers, safe storage requirements, and banning equipment such as suppressors, high capacity magazines, and bump stocks.