Our health and wellbeing relies on so much more than a visit to the doctor. Research has shown us that everything from education to poverty to access to fresh food can make a massive difference for the wellbeing of our communities. If we’re to improve health outcomes across our nation, we need to focus on solutions that cover entire populations. By focusing on our communities as a whole, we can increase wellness, decrease costs, and push our nation towards more active, caring, and fulfilling lives.
- Lead the government towards a preventative care, public health approach that improves social determinants of health, including food and housing insecurity, access to education and environmental impact.
- Create programs that prioritize positive family and mental health outcomes.
- Reduce exposure to gun violence through common sense gun control measures that respect 2nd amendment rights.
- Ensure guaranteed health coverage for all Americans, via Medicare for All.
Focusing on preventive, community based solutions doesn’t only make us healthier, it significantly lowers costs. When almost 40% of deaths in the United States are attributable to preventable health behaviors1, we owe it to ourselves to prevent them. How? By improving social determinants of health: income, housing security, education, and food security, among others2. Some estimate that community-based social interventions could save $5 for every $1 invested. Community based health solutions will optimize our tax dollars while ensuring healthy outcomes for our citizens.
One of our most urgent needs is addressing nutrition inequities in low income neighborhoods and neighborhoods with food deserts. Over 23.5 million people live in low income areas that are more than a mile from a supermarket, and thus end up shopping at fast food restaurants or higher-priced small local stores3. With healthy food becoming more expensive and fatty food becoming less expensive4, what starts as a financial decision by low income residents becomes a critical long term health crisis.
Proximity to violence severely impacts the health and wellbeing of our communities. Over a million Americans have been shot in the last decade. One in four women and one in ten men have experienced domestic violence5. Survivors of childhood trauma, like exposure to violence, are 59% more likely to be arrested as a juvenile6, continuing the cycle of harm. We need to address these problems not from a punitive perspective, but from a preventative one, starting with stricter gun control legislation (which a majority of Americans support7).
Finally, we need more widespread access to family and mental health programs, which help prevent countless comorbidities, save billions in reactive treatment costs in the process, and allow our society to fulfill its potential. Currently, insurance only provides access to half our nation’s psychiatrists. We need to find ways to increase accessibility.
How We Plan to Do It
Impacting Social Determinants of Public Health:
- Implement broad, far reaching policies as part of our “Floor to Stand On” signature platform, which will impact most major social determinants of health: Healthcare access, Education, Housing Stability, Climate Change, and Income security.
- Increase access to reproductive health and end discrimination in healthcare, as outlined in our Gender, Sex, and Sexual Identity plan.
- Work towards an end to the war on drugs, starting with decriminalizing marijuana and fighting to heal addiction rather than punish it.
- Ensure that our disabled populations are cared for adequately and compassionately.
- Protect our people from the harms of climate change and environmental degradation, as outlined in Saving our Climate from Ourselves.
- By improving these disparate areas of health, we will catalyze lower healthcare costs and improved health outcomes on a communal level.
Healthcare Structural Reform:
- Pass Medicare for All, as part of our Floor to Stand On platform.
- Increase funding for CDC data research and mining.
- Incentivize hospitals and healthcare groups to share data on racial and gender disparities in health outcomes.
- Research growth caps on hospitals, ensuring that price increases are tied to costs and not profiteering8 9.
- Tighten regulation to prevent hospitals’ abuse of non-profit status, disincentivizing massive CEO salaries and irresponsible uses of revenue.
- Find ways to increase pay and stability for home healthcare workers, who are often routinely underpaid women of color10 11 working in an increasingly critical field12.
Family and Mental Health:
- Ensure that all healthcare coverage extends to cover mental health.
- Provide free, accessible options for family counseling and therapy.
- Increase availability of mental health counselors in public schools.
- Expand access to oral healthcare, especially for low income families.
- Ensure that shelters are equipped to support victims of abuse and trauma.
Nutrition Equity and Access:
- Encourage development of supermarkets in food deserts via tax breaks and other incentives.
- Restrict new construction of new fast food outlets in areas already suffering from insufficient nutrition equity.
- Push for stricter regulation of vitamins, supplements, and natural health products.
- Provide federal support for innovative local projects, like the ones in Oakland13, Los Angeles14, and New York15.
Controlling Gun Violence:
- Require universal background checks, create a mandatory waiting period, and eliminate the gun show loophole.
- Ban the sale of assault weapons, bump stocks and high-capacity magazines.
- Require child safety locks and institute stringent child access controls.
- Require gun licenses to include more thorough training, coursework, and stipulations (such as periodic renewal) similar to driver’s licenses.
- Pass “Red Flag” laws, so family members and law enforcement can temporarily remove guns from an individual in danger of hurting themselves or others.
- Provide voluntary buyback programs for those who no longer wish to exercise their 2nd Amendment right.
- Empower the CDC to study gun ownership & violence as a public health issue.