Donald Trump and the Republican Congress are continuing their efforts to dismantle Obamacare, legislation that enabled millions of Americans to obtain health care and no longer worry about going bankrupt if a family member gets sick. Ayanna believes that we must defend the gains made under Obamacare, and that we must push further to implement a Medicare for All system that will make healthcare even more accessible.
There are also significant changes we can make to our existing system to improve service delivery for patients and control costs. On the Boston City Council, Ayanna pushed for additional investments in mental health clinicians and also supported a program that links services and resources between local health networks to address the causes of poor health. It’s through innovative thinking that Congress can bring a practical approach to preventative care that ensure better health, intervenes before crisis, and brings down cost.
Protecting a woman’s right to reproductive health services, including abortion, has been one of the most important fights of Ayanna’s career. On the Boston City Council, she pushed to repeal the Hyde Amendment, in order to ensure that women, regardless of income or healthcare provider, have access to abortion services. She will continue to be a fierce advocate for reproductive justice rights in Congress, and push to repeal the ban on Federal funding being used to cover abortion services.
But protecting women’s health is about more than reproductive freedom. It’s also essential that access to quality and affordable preventative healthcare services, like mammograms, cancer screenings, and birth control are protected. Ayanna will take on anyone who seeks to marginalize the organizations that do this important work, like Planned Parenthood, and will work to expand access to birth control and other medications over the counter.
And education is vitally important. After looking into the reasons behind an uptick in teen pregnancy – one of the leading reasons girls drop out of school – Ayanna worked to institute age-appropriate sex education classes in Boston Public Schools and condom availability, which led to a 31 percent decrease in teen pregnancy.
Donald Trump has been too much talk and not enough action when it comes to addressing the severe threat of opioids in our communities – instead he chooses to blame communities with large minority and immigrant populations, like Boston, for the crisis. In reality, though, the threat posed by opioids doesn’t discriminate and the impact on families and children is devastating. Congress needs to enact Federal restrictions on the prescription of opioids and designate new Federal funding for law enforcement and healthcare professionals to tackle this epidemic.
We must also make sure that the empathy and focus on treatment and prevention related to opioid addiction is extended to addicts of other drugs, particularly those that have disproportionately affected poor and communities of color.