HEALTHCARE

The United States medical system is the most expensive in the world costing over 17% of GDP. Despite this, the Journal of the American Medical Association found that we have the worst overall health coverage, lowest life expectancy, and the highest infant mortality rate of Western countries. Additionally, almost 10% of Americans do not have health insurance. The  DCDC believes that every person should have access to comprehensive healthcare for both physical and mental illness.

Secure Adequate Health Care for all, regardless of income or geography The DCDC supports the future development of a Medicare-for-all system that provides comprehensive healthcare for all Americans regardless of income or geography. This Medicare-for-all system would provide universal public healthcare while maintaining a private insurance option.

● A recent Reuters survey shows that 70% of Americans now support Medicare-for-all. This figure includes 85% of Democrats and 52% of Republicans, so the concept of universal healthcare has bipartisan support.

● Studies of this single-payer option found that residents of PA would benefit from the Elimination of premiums, co-pays, and other out-of-pocket expenses. This Medicare-for-all system would lower the expenses of the bottom 85% of taxpayers.

●   Businesses would also thrive because the tax rate for Medicare-for-All would be less than the 10% average they pay for health benefits to their employees. Additionally, this would stimulate business by lowering payroll costs and workers comp, and unions would not have to bargain over healthcare.

● We encourage Democrats who have been championing comprehensive healthcare in Pennsylvania such as Pamela A. DeLissio, Malcolm Kenyatta, and Mark Rozzi. Pamela A. DeLissio introduced House Bill 1688 in 2017, which would have established a single-payer healthcare plan titled Pennsylvania Health Care Plan. Democrats throughout the mid-Atlantic states have pursued similar healthcare bills, so we believe in developing a system that works for all Pennsylvanians.  

Combat Drug and Alcohol Addiction

● The drug crisis and alcohol addiction have disproportionately affected Pennsylvanians. Every day, we lose 10 Pennsylvanians to substance abuse disorder. This disease affects every person in the Commonwealth and threatens entire communities.

● In 2017, there were more than 70,200 drug overdose deaths in the U.S.–an age-adjusted rate of 21 per 100,000 persons. The rate of drug overdose deaths was significantly higher in Pennsylvania at 44 deaths per 100,000. The PA overdose death rate was double the national average.

● We support bipartisan legislation on a federal level such as Support For Patients and Communities Act which passed in the U.S. Senate by a vote of 98-1 and the U.S. House approved it by 396-14 in 2018. The bill expanded access to treatment by paying opioid programs for medication, counseling, and treatment. It also allowed the National Health Service Corps to provide care at community-based centers in shortage areas.

● We encourage Democrats on a federal level such as Senator Bob Casey to pursue meaningful legislative change. Casey supported a variety of acts in Congress relating to the drug crisis, such as the 21st Century Cures Act and Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act. This legislation provided $53 million in funding for individuals dealing with opioid use disorders and authorized multiple programs to support evidence-based treatment and intervention programs.  

● Our committee believes that this crisis of opioid and alcohol addiction needs a comprehensive legislative program that tackles the issue on multiple fronts. Our policy involves providing education on drug and alcohol abuse, rehabilitating victims through professional care and community-based centers, addressing the shortage of treatment beds and doctors with specialized training, and seeking legal action against those who profit from the crisis. Legislative reform is essential because the drug crisis profoundly impacts rural and urban communities throughout the entire Commonwealth.

● We also support legislation that would prosecute those companies that benefit from the crisis. In 2019, Angel Cruz, a Democratic member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, co-sponsored House Resolution 344 that called on the Attorney General to file lawsuits against companies that "caused or contributed to the opioid crisis."  

Treat Mental Health Care No Differently Than Physical Health Care

● We must treat mental health issues with the same care and intensity that we would treat physical health. Mental illnesses are often biologically based like diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.

● We support removing stigmas around mental health such as beliefs that people with psychological issues are weak or violent. According to a report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, most people still believe that individuals with mental illness are dangerous and unpredictable. However, people with mental illnesses are more likely to be the victims of violent crime than the perpetrators. We want to educate Pennsylvanians on the fact that one-in-four Americans live with mental health issues to normalize the discussion and regular preventive care of mental health/wellbeing. In 2014, 56% of American adults with a mental illness did not receive treatment.

● Mental health issues particularly impact our youngest generations. The rate of youth depression has risen from 8% in 2011 to 11% in 2014. 29% of PA high school students report feeling hopeless every day, and 14% report suicidal thoughts. Despite one in ten young people facing depression, over 80% of our children receive no treatment. We want our young people to grow up in an environment that understands their emotional and psychological needs. Therefore, we support the expansion of mental health education in schools through legislation similar to U.S House bill H.R.850. This bill helped institute programs that provide teachers with training on mental health and emotional needs. We encourage further legislation that broadens support of people with mental and emotional illness through financial assistance to nonprofits, educational programs for both parents and children, and increased access to affordable medication.

● Pennsylvania incarcerates more individuals with severe mental illness than it hospitalizes. 12,000 people with mental health issues are in jail compared to 7,000 who are getting professional treatment. We believe these funds would be better served by treating mental illness in centers and professional institutions than mass incarceration.

● We support legislation that would increase access to treatment. We also support legislation such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and PA House Resolution  193. These pieces of legislation would educate people on mental health, address the shortage of mental health professionals in the Commonwealth, and allow people with mental health issues to find employment.  

Protect Medicare and Medicaid

● We support state and federal level legislation that expands Medicare to all members of our society. The DCDC supports the expansion and protection of Medicare and Medicaid throughout Pennsylvania. Medicaid provides health coverage to millions of Americans, including pregnant women, seniors, and children.

●  Gov. Tom Wolf brought the state into ACA to significant success in 2015. In 2015, 439,000 people had enrolled through the ACAs Medicaid expansion program. By 2017, 716,000 people in Pennsylvania were covered by Medicaid as a result of the expansion. Today, 2,301,187 people in PA are enrolled in Medicare, and 2,091,220 enlisted in Medicaid.

Nearly, 53% of people enrolled in Medicare in the Commonwealth were on disability, and 46% were over 65 years old. These programs protect our most vulnerable, and our committee will work tirelessly to protect them.  Examine and Address the Cost Drivers in Health Care

●  The United States healthcare system is the most expensive in the world. We are committed to addressing the cost drivers of the current healthcare while supporting the future implementation of a universal system.  

● Pharmaceutical companies and Pharmacy Benefit Manager (PBM), third party administrators of prescriptions, have benefited most from this increase. PBMs and pharmaceutical companies have shown little transparency, which has resulted in the prices of drugs skyrocketing by 1010%. We believe all people should have affordable access to healthcare and products such as insulin. We reject companies hiking up the prices of products at the expense of patients. The largest pharmaceutical companies are making billions of dollars per year while prescription drug prices increase for our communities. We believe this is irresponsible and against the interests of the American people. Therefore, we would attempt to lower the costs of pharmaceuticals and ensure that people are at the center of healthcare, not businesses.

● Our committee supports the introduction of legislation that would combat the lack of insurance transparency and the narrow health insurance provider networks within the current medical system. Insurance companies act as middlemen between patients and providers, but they frequently agree to pay higher prices to the hospital while patients are stuck with unexpected bills or fees. Many health insurance companies have profits of billions of dollars per year while charging extravagantly high premiums and out-of-network fees to patients. We support legislation that would ensure that insurance companies and hospitals provide more transparency on the costs of patient care.

● Moreover, we support a reduction in tuition and the limiting of overly exhausting workloads for medical students throughout the Commonwealth. Studies have consistently shown that the enormous amount of debt that medical students obtain and their long work hours lead to depression, burnout, and a lack of diversity within the  medical field — the average physician graduates with almost $250,000 in debt. This hurts the quality of patient healthcare. Physicians are often forced to overly specialize in high-income fields and increase the price of service to patients to combat their debt. Reducing physician debt would allow the medical field to develop a more socio-economically diverse profile and encourage doctors to go into primary care and other fields that provide a broader spectrum of prevent health services for our community. The United States medical system is the most expensive in the world costing over 17% of GDP. Despite this, the Journal of the American Medical Association found that we have the worst overall health coverage, lowest life expectancy, and the highest infant mortality rate of Western countries. Additionally, almost 10% of Americans do not have health insurance. The  DCDC believes that every person should have access to comprehensive healthcare for both physical and mental illness. Secure Adequate Health Care for all, regardless of income or geography The DCDC supports the future development of a Medicare-for-all system that provides comprehensive healthcare for all Americans regardless of income or geography. This Medicare-for-all system would provide universal public healthcare while maintaining a private insurance option.

● A recent Reuters survey shows that 70% of Americans now support Medicare-for-all. This figure includes 85% of Democrats and 52% of Republicans, so the concept of universal healthcare has bipartisan support.

● Studies of this single-payer option found that residents of PA would benefit from the Elimination of premiums, co-pays, and other out-of-pocket expenses. This Medicare-for-all system would lower the expenses of the bottom 85% of taxpayers.

●   Businesses would also thrive because the tax rate for Medicare-for-All would be less than the 10% average they pay for health benefits to their employees. Additionally, this would stimulate business by lowering payroll costs and workers comp, and unions would not have to bargain over healthcare.

● We encourage Democrats who have been championing comprehensive healthcare in Pennsylvania such as Pamela A. DeLissio, Malcolm Kenyatta, and Mark Rozzi. Pamela A. DeLissio introduced House Bill 1688 in 2017, which would have established a single-payer healthcare plan titled Pennsylvania Health Care Plan. Democrats throughout the mid-Atlantic states have pursued similar healthcare bills, so we believe in developing a system that works for all Pennsylvanians.   Combat Drug and Alcohol Addiction

● The drug crisis and alcohol addiction have disproportionately affected Pennsylvanians. Every day, we lose 10 Pennsylvanians to substance abuse disorder. This disease affects every person in the Commonwealth and threatens entire communities.

● In 2017, there were more than 70,200 drug overdose deaths in the U.S.–an age-adjusted rate of 21 per 100,000 persons. The rate of drug overdose deaths was significantly higher in Pennsylvania at 44 deaths per 100,000. The PA overdose death rate was double the national average.

● We support bipartisan legislation on a federal level such as Support For Patients and Communities Act which passed in the U.S. Senate by a vote of 98-1 and the U.S. House approved it by 396-14 in 2018. The bill expanded access to treatment by paying opioid programs for medication, counseling, and treatment. It also allowed the National Health Service Corps to provide care at community-based centers in shortage areas.

● We encourage Democrats on a federal level such as Senator Bob Casey to pursue meaningful legislative change. Casey supported a variety of acts in Congress relating to the drug crisis, such as the 21st Century Cures Act and Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act. This legislation provided $53 million in funding for individuals dealing with opioid use disorders and authorized multiple programs to support evidence-based treatment and intervention programs.  

● Our committee believes that this crisis of opioid and alcohol addiction needs a comprehensive legislative program that tackles the issue on multiple fronts. Our policy involves providing education on drug and alcohol abuse, rehabilitating victims through professional care and community-based centers, addressing the shortage of treatment beds and doctors with specialized training, and seeking legal action against those who profit from the crisis. Legislative reform is essential because the drug crisis profoundly impacts rural and urban communities throughout the entire Commonwealth.

● We also support legislation that would prosecute those companies that benefit from the crisis. In 2019, Angel Cruz, a Democratic member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, co-sponsored House Resolution 344 that called on the Attorney General to file lawsuits against companies that "caused or contributed to the opioid crisis."   Treat Mental Health Care No Differently Than Physical Health Care

● We must treat mental health issues with the same care and intensity that we would treat physical health. Mental illnesses are often biologically based like diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.

● We support removing stigmas around mental health such as beliefs that people with psychological issues are weak or violent. According to a report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, most people still believe that individuals with mental illness are dangerous and unpredictable. However, people with mental illnesses are more likely to be the victims of violent crime than the perpetrators. We want to educate Pennsylvanians on the fact that one-in-four Americans live with mental health issues to normalize the discussion and regular preventive care of mental health/wellbeing. In 2014, 56% of American adults with a mental illness did not receive treatment.

● Mental health issues particularly impact our youngest generations. The rate of youth depression has risen from 8% in 2011 to 11% in 2014. 29% of PA high school students report feeling hopeless every day, and 14% report suicidal thoughts. Despite one in ten young people facing depression, over 80% of our children receive no treatment. We want our young people to grow up in an environment that understands their emotional and psychological needs. Therefore, we support the expansion of mental health education in schools through legislation similar to U.S House bill H.R.850. This bill helped institute programs that provide teachers with training on mental health and emotional needs. We encourage further legislation that broadens support of people with mental and emotional illness through financial assistance to nonprofits, educational programs for both parents and children, and increased access to affordable medication.

● Pennsylvania incarcerates more individuals with severe mental illness than it hospitalizes. 12,000 people with mental health issues are in jail compared to 7,000 who are getting professional treatment. We believe these funds would be better served by treating mental illness in centers and professional institutions than mass incarceration.

● We support legislation that would increase access to treatment. We also support legislation such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and PA House Resolution  193. These pieces of legislation would educate people on mental health, address the shortage of mental health professionals in the Commonwealth, and allow people with mental health issues to find employment.   Protect Medicare and Medicaid

● We support state and federal level legislation that expands Medicare to all members of our society. The DCDC supports the expansion and protection of Medicare and Medicaid throughout Pennsylvania. Medicaid provides health coverage to millions of Americans, including pregnant women, seniors, and children.

●  Gov. Tom Wolf brought the state into ACA to significant success in 2015. In 2015, 439,000 people had enrolled through the ACAs Medicaid expansion program. By 2017, 716,000 people in Pennsylvania were covered by Medicaid as a result of the expansion. Today, 2,301,187 people in PA are enrolled in Medicare, and 2,091,220 enlisted in Medicaid.

● Nearly, 53% of people enrolled in Medicare in the Commonwealth were on disability, and 46% were over 65 years old. These programs protect our most vulnerable, and our committee will work tirelessly to protect them.   Examine and Address the Cost Drivers in Health Care

●  The United States healthcare system is the most expensive in the world. We are committed to addressing the cost drivers of the current healthcare while supporting the future implementation of a universal system.  

● Pharmaceutical companies and Pharmacy Benefit Manager (PBM), third party administrators of prescriptions, have benefited most from this increase. PBMs and pharmaceutical companies have shown little transparency, which has resulted in the prices of drugs skyrocketing by 1010%. We believe all people should have affordable access to healthcare and products such as insulin. We reject companies hiking up the prices of products at the expense of patients. The largest pharmaceutical companies are making billions of dollars per year while prescription drug prices increase for our communities. We believe this is irresponsible and against the interests of the American people. Therefore, we would attempt to lower the costs of pharmaceuticals and ensure that people are at the center of healthcare, not businesses.

● Our committee supports the introduction of legislation that would combat the lack of insurance transparency and the narrow health insurance provider networks within the current medical system. Insurance companies act as middlemen between patients and providers, but they frequently agree to pay higher prices to the hospital while patients are stuck with unexpected bills or fees. Many health insurance companies have profits of billions of dollars per year while charging extravagantly high premiums and out-of-network fees to patients. We support legislation that would ensure that insurance companies and hospitals provide more transparency on the costs of patient care.

● Moreover, we support a reduction in tuition and the limiting of overly exhausting workloads for medical students throughout the Commonwealth. Studies have consistently shown that the enormous amount of debt that medical students obtain and their long work hours lead to depression, burnout, and a lack of diversity within the  medical field — the average physician graduates with almost $250,000 in debt. This hurts the quality of patient healthcare. Physicians are often forced to overly specialize in high-income fields and increase the price of service to patients to combat their debt. Reducing physician debt would allow the medical field to develop a more socio-economically diverse profile and encourage doctors to go into primary care and other fields that provide a broader spectrum of prevent health services for our community. The United States medical system is the most expensive in the world costing over 17% of GDP. Despite this, the Journal of the American Medical Association found that we have the worst overall health coverage, lowest life expectancy, and the highest infant mortality rate of Western countries. Additionally, almost 10% of Americans do not have health insurance. The  DCDC believes that every person should have access to comprehensive healthcare for both physical and mental illness. Secure Adequate Health Care for all, regardless of income or geography The DCDC supports the future development of a Medicare-for-all system that provides comprehensive healthcare for all Americans regardless of income or geography. This Medicare-for-all system would provide universal public healthcare while maintaining a private insurance option.

● A recent Reuters survey shows that 70% of Americans now support Medicare-for-all. This figure includes 85% of Democrats and 52% of Republicans, so the concept of universal healthcare has bipartisan support.

● Studies of this single-payer option found that residents of PA would benefit from the Elimination of premiums, co-pays, and other out-of-pocket expenses. This Medicare-for-all system would lower the expenses of the bottom 85% of taxpayers.

●   Businesses would also thrive because the tax rate for Medicare-for-All would be less than the 10% average they pay for health benefits to their employees. Additionally, this would stimulate business by lowering payroll costs and workers comp, and unions would not have to bargain over healthcare.

● We encourage Democrats who have been championing comprehensive healthcare in Pennsylvania such as Pamela A. DeLissio, Malcolm Kenyatta, and Mark Rozzi. Pamela A. DeLissio introduced House Bill 1688 in 2017, which would have established a single-payer healthcare plan titled Pennsylvania Health Care Plan. Democrats throughout the mid-Atlantic states have pursued similar healthcare bills, so we believe in developing a system that works for all Pennsylvanians.   Combat Drug and Alcohol Addiction

● The drug crisis and alcohol addiction have disproportionately affected Pennsylvanians. Every day, we lose 10 Pennsylvanians to substance abuse disorder. This disease affects every person in the Commonwealth and threatens entire communities.

● In 2017, there were more than 70,200 drug overdose deaths in the U.S.–an age-adjusted rate of 21 per 100,000 persons. The rate of drug overdose deaths was significantly higher in Pennsylvania at 44 deaths per 100,000. The PA overdose death rate was double the national average.

● We support bipartisan legislation on a federal level such as Support For Patients and Communities Act which passed in the U.S. Senate by a vote of 98-1 and the U.S. House approved it by 396-14 in 2018. The bill expanded access to treatment by paying opioid programs for medication, counseling, and treatment. It also allowed the National Health Service Corps to provide care at community-based centers in shortage areas.

● We encourage Democrats on a federal level such as Senator Bob Casey to pursue meaningful legislative change. Casey supported a variety of acts in Congress relating to the drug crisis, such as the 21st Century Cures Act and Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act. This legislation provided $53 million in funding for individuals dealing with opioid use disorders and authorized multiple programs to support evidence-based treatment and intervention programs.  

● Our committee believes that this crisis of opioid and alcohol addiction needs a comprehensive legislative program that tackles the issue on multiple fronts. Our policy involves providing education on drug and alcohol abuse, rehabilitating victims through professional care and community-based centers, addressing the shortage of treatment beds and doctors with specialized training, and seeking legal action against those who profit from the crisis. Legislative reform is essential because the drug crisis profoundly impacts rural and urban communities throughout the entire Commonwealth.

● We also support legislation that would prosecute those companies that benefit from the crisis. In 2019, Angel Cruz, a Democratic member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, co-sponsored House Resolution 344 that called on the Attorney General to file lawsuits against companies that "caused or contributed to the opioid crisis."   Treat Mental Health Care No Differently Than Physical Health Care

● We must treat mental health issues with the same care and intensity that we would treat physical health. Mental illnesses are often biologically based like diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.

● We support removing stigmas around mental health such as beliefs that people with psychological issues are weak or violent. According to a report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, most people still believe that individuals with mental illness are dangerous and unpredictable. However, people with mental illnesses are more likely to be the victims of violent crime than the perpetrators. We want to educate Pennsylvanians on the fact that one-in-four Americans live with mental health issues to normalize the discussion and regular preventive care of mental health/wellbeing. In 2014, 56% of American adults with a mental illness did not receive treatment.

● Mental health issues particularly impact our youngest generations. The rate of youth depression has risen from 8% in 2011 to 11% in 2014. 29% of PA high school students report feeling hopeless every day, and 14% report suicidal thoughts. Despite one in ten young people facing depression, over 80% of our children receive no treatment. We want our young people to grow up in an environment that understands their emotional and psychological needs. Therefore, we support the expansion of mental health education in schools through legislation similar to U.S House bill H.R.850. This bill helped institute programs that provide teachers with training on mental health and emotional needs. We encourage further legislation that broadens support of people with mental and emotional illness through financial assistance to nonprofits, educational programs for both parents and children, and increased access to affordable medication.

● Pennsylvania incarcerates more individuals with severe mental illness than it hospitalizes. 12,000 people with mental health issues are in jail compared to 7,000 who are getting professional treatment. We believe these funds would be better served by treating mental illness in centers and professional institutions than mass incarceration.

● We support legislation that would increase access to treatment. We also support legislation such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and PA House Resolution  193. These pieces of legislation would educate people on mental health, address the shortage of mental health professionals in the Commonwealth, and allow people with mental health issues to find employment.   Protect Medicare and Medicaid

● We support state and federal level legislation that expands Medicare to all members of our society. The DCDC supports the expansion and protection of Medicare and Medicaid throughout Pennsylvania. Medicaid provides health coverage to millions of Americans, including pregnant women, seniors, and children.

●  Gov. Tom Wolf brought the state into ACA to significant success in 2015. In 2015, 439,000 people had enrolled through the ACAs Medicaid expansion program. By 2017, 716,000 people in Pennsylvania were covered by Medicaid as a result of the expansion. Today, 2,301,187 people in PA are enrolled in Medicare, and 2,091,220 enlisted in Medicaid.

● Nearly, 53% of people enrolled in Medicare in the Commonwealth were on disability, and 46% were over 65 years old. These programs protect our most vulnerable, and our committee will work tirelessly to protect them.   Examine and Address the Cost Drivers in Health Care

●  The United States healthcare system is the most expensive in the world. We are committed to addressing the cost drivers of the current healthcare while supporting the future implementation of a universal system.  

● Pharmaceutical companies and Pharmacy Benefit Manager (PBM), third party administrators of prescriptions, have benefited most from this increase. PBMs and pharmaceutical companies have shown little transparency, which has resulted in the prices of drugs skyrocketing by 1010%. We believe all people should have affordable access to healthcare and products such as insulin. We reject companies hiking up the prices of products at the expense of patients. The largest pharmaceutical companies are making billions of dollars per year while prescription drug prices increase for our communities. We believe this is irresponsible and against the interests of the American people. Therefore, we would attempt to lower the costs of pharmaceuticals and ensure that people are at the center of healthcare, not businesses.

● Our committee supports the introduction of legislation that would combat the lack of insurance transparency and the narrow health insurance provider networks within the current medical system. Insurance companies act as middlemen between patients and providers, but they frequently agree to pay higher prices to the hospital while patients are stuck with unexpected bills or fees. Many health insurance companies have profits of billions of dollars per year while charging extravagantly high premiums and out-of-network fees to patients. We support legislation that would ensure that insurance companies and hospitals provide more transparency on the costs of patient care.

● Moreover, we support a reduction in tuition and the limiting of overly exhausting workloads for medical students throughout the Commonwealth. Studies have consistently shown that the enormous amount of debt that medical students obtain and their long work hours lead to depression, burnout, and a lack of diversity within the  medical field — the average physician graduates with almost $250,000 in debt. This hurts the quality of patient healthcare. Physicians are often forced to overly specialize in high-income fields and increase the price of service to patients to combat their debt. Reducing physician debt would allow the medical field to develop a more socio-economically diverse profile and encourage doctors to go into primary care and other fields that provide a broader spectrum of prevent health services for our community. The United States medical system is the most expensive in the world costing over 17% of GDP. Despite this, the Journal of the American Medical Association found that we have the worst overall health coverage, lowest life expectancy, and the highest infant mortality rate of Western countries. Additionally, almost 10% of Americans do not have health insurance. The  DCDC believes that every person should have access to comprehensive healthcare for both physical and mental illness. Secure Adequate Health Care for all, regardless of income or geography The DCDC supports the future development of a Medicare-for-all system that provides comprehensive healthcare for all Americans regardless of income or geography. This Medicare-for-all system would provide universal public healthcare while maintaining a private insurance option.

● A recent Reuters survey shows that 70% of Americans now support Medicare-for-all. This figure includes 85% of Democrats and 52% of Republicans, so the concept of universal healthcare has bipartisan support.

● Studies of this single-payer option found that residents of PA would benefit from the Elimination of premiums, co-pays, and other out-of-pocket expenses. This Medicare-for-all system would lower the expenses of the bottom 85% of taxpayers.

●   Businesses would also thrive because the tax rate for Medicare-for-All would be less than the 10% average they pay for health benefits to their employees. Additionally, this would stimulate business by lowering payroll costs and workers comp, and unions would not have to bargain over healthcare.

● We encourage Democrats who have been championing comprehensive healthcare in Pennsylvania such as Pamela A. DeLissio, Malcolm Kenyatta, and Mark Rozzi. Pamela A. DeLissio introduced House Bill 1688 in 2017, which would have established a single-payer healthcare plan titled Pennsylvania Health Care Plan. Democrats throughout the mid-Atlantic states have pursued similar healthcare bills, so we believe in developing a system that works for all Pennsylvanians.   Combat Drug and Alcohol Addiction

● The drug crisis and alcohol addiction have disproportionately affected Pennsylvanians. Every day, we lose 10 Pennsylvanians to substance abuse disorder. This disease affects every person in the Commonwealth and threatens entire communities.

● In 2017, there were more than 70,200 drug overdose deaths in the U.S.–an age-adjusted rate of 21 per 100,000 persons. The rate of drug overdose deaths was significantly higher in Pennsylvania at 44 deaths per 100,000. The PA overdose death rate was double the national average.

● We support bipartisan legislation on a federal level such as Support For Patients and Communities Act which passed in the U.S. Senate by a vote of 98-1 and the U.S. House approved it by 396-14 in 2018. The bill expanded access to treatment by paying opioid programs for medication, counseling, and treatment. It also allowed the National Health Service Corps to provide care at community-based centers in shortage areas.

● We encourage Democrats on a federal level such as Senator Bob Casey to pursue meaningful legislative change. Casey supported a variety of acts in Congress relating to the drug crisis, such as the 21st Century Cures Act and Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act. This legislation provided $53 million in funding for individuals dealing with opioid use disorders and authorized multiple programs to support evidence-based treatment and intervention programs.  

● Our committee believes that this crisis of opioid and alcohol addiction needs a comprehensive legislative program that tackles the issue on multiple fronts. Our policy involves providing education on drug and alcohol abuse, rehabilitating victims through professional care and community-based centers, addressing the shortage of treatment beds and doctors with specialized training, and seeking legal action against those who profit from the crisis. Legislative reform is essential because the drug crisis profoundly impacts rural and urban communities throughout the entire Commonwealth.

● We also support legislation that would prosecute those companies that benefit from the crisis. In 2019, Angel Cruz, a Democratic member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, co-sponsored House Resolution 344 that called on the Attorney General to file lawsuits against companies that "caused or contributed to the opioid crisis."   Treat Mental Health Care No Differently Than Physical Health Care

● We must treat mental health issues with the same care and intensity that we would treat physical health. Mental illnesses are often biologically based like diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.

● We support removing stigmas around mental health such as beliefs that people with psychological issues are weak or violent. According to a report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, most people still believe that individuals with mental illness are dangerous and unpredictable. However, people with mental illnesses are more likely to be the victims of violent crime than the perpetrators. We want to educate Pennsylvanians on the fact that one-in-four Americans live with mental health issues to normalize the discussion and regular preventive care of mental health/wellbeing. In 2014, 56% of American adults with a mental illness did not receive treatment.

● Mental health issues particularly impact our youngest generations. The rate of youth depression has risen from 8% in 2011 to 11% in 2014. 29% of PA high school students report feeling hopeless every day, and 14% report suicidal thoughts. Despite one in ten young people facing depression, over 80% of our children receive no treatment. We want our young people to grow up in an environment that understands their emotional and psychological needs. Therefore, we support the expansion of mental health education in schools through legislation similar to U.S House bill H.R.850. This bill helped institute programs that provide teachers with training on mental health and emotional needs. We encourage further legislation that broadens support of people with mental and emotional illness through financial assistance to nonprofits, educational programs for both parents and children, and increased access to affordable medication.

● Pennsylvania incarcerates more individuals with severe mental illness than it hospitalizes. 12,000 people with mental health issues are in jail compared to 7,000 who are getting professional treatment. We believe these funds would be better served by treating mental illness in centers and professional institutions than mass incarceration.

● We support legislation that would increase access to treatment. We also support legislation such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and PA House Resolution  193. These pieces of legislation would educate people on mental health, address the shortage of mental health professionals in the Commonwealth, and allow people with mental health issues to find employment.   Protect Medicare and Medicaid

● We support state and federal level legislation that expands Medicare to all members of our society. The DCDC supports the expansion and protection of Medicare and Medicaid throughout Pennsylvania. Medicaid provides health coverage to millions of Americans, including pregnant women, seniors, and children.

●  Gov. Tom Wolf brought the state into ACA to significant success in 2015. In 2015, 439,000 people had enrolled through the ACAs Medicaid expansion program. By 2017, 716,000 people in Pennsylvania were covered by Medicaid as a result of the expansion. Today, 2,301,187 people in PA are enrolled in Medicare, and 2,091,220 enlisted in Medicaid.

● Nearly, 53% of people enrolled in Medicare in the Commonwealth were on disability, and 46% were over 65 years old. These programs protect our most vulnerable, and our committee will work tirelessly to protect them.   Examine and Address the Cost Drivers in Health Care

●  The United States healthcare system is the most expensive in the world. We are committed to addressing the cost drivers of the current healthcare while supporting the future implementation of a universal system.  

● Pharmaceutical companies and Pharmacy Benefit Manager (PBM), third party administrators of prescriptions, have benefited most from this increase. PBMs and pharmaceutical companies have shown little transparency, which has resulted in the prices of drugs skyrocketing by 1010%. We believe all people should have affordable access to healthcare and products such as insulin. We reject companies hiking up the prices of products at the expense of patients. The largest pharmaceutical companies are making billions of dollars per year while prescription drug prices increase for our communities. We believe this is irresponsible and against the interests of the American people. Therefore, we would attempt to lower the costs of pharmaceuticals and ensure that people are at the center of healthcare, not businesses.

● Our committee supports the introduction of legislation that would combat the lack of insurance transparency and the narrow health insurance provider networks within the current medical system. Insurance companies act as middlemen between patients and providers, but they frequently agree to pay higher prices to the hospital while patients are stuck with unexpected bills or fees. Many health insurance companies have profits of billions of dollars per year while charging extravagantly high premiums and out-of-network fees to patients. We support legislation that would ensure that insurance companies and hospitals provide more transparency on the costs of patient care.

● Moreover, we support a reduction in tuition and the limiting of overly exhausting workloads for medical students throughout the Commonwealth. Studies have consistently shown that the enormous amount of debt that medical students obtain and their long work hours lead to depression, burnout, and a lack of diversity within the  medical field — the average physician graduates with almost $250,000 in debt. This hurts the quality of patient healthcare. Physicians are often forced to overly specialize in high-income fields and increase the price of service to patients to combat their debt. Reducing physician debt would allow the medical field to develop a more socio-economically diverse profile and encourage doctors to go into primary care and other fields that provide a broader spectrum of prevent health services for our community. The United States medical system is the most expensive in the world costing over 17% of GDP. Despite this, the Journal of the American Medical Association found that we have the worst overall health coverage, lowest life expectancy, and the highest infant mortality rate of Western countries. Additionally, almost 10% of Americans do not have health insurance. The  DCDC believes that every person should have access to comprehensive healthcare for both physical and mental illness. Secure Adequate Health Care for all, regardless of income or geography The DCDC supports the future development of a Medicare-for-all system that provides comprehensive healthcare for all Americans regardless of income or geography. This Medicare-for-all system would provide universal public healthcare while maintaining a private insurance option.

● A recent Reuters survey shows that 70% of Americans now support Medicare-for-all. This figure includes 85% of Democrats and 52% of Republicans, so the concept of universal healthcare has bipartisan support.

● Studies of this single-payer option found that residents of PA would benefit from the Elimination of premiums, co-pays, and other out-of-pocket expenses. This Medicare-for-all system would lower the expenses of the bottom 85% of taxpayers.

●   Businesses would also thrive because the tax rate for Medicare-for-All would be less than the 10% average they pay for health benefits to their employees. Additionally, this would stimulate business by lowering payroll costs and workers comp, and unions would not have to bargain over healthcare.

● We encourage Democrats who have been championing comprehensive healthcare in Pennsylvania such as Pamela A. DeLissio, Malcolm Kenyatta, and Mark Rozzi. Pamela A. DeLissio introduced House Bill 1688 in 2017, which would have established a single-payer healthcare plan titled Pennsylvania Health Care Plan. Democrats throughout the mid-Atlantic states have pursued similar healthcare bills, so we believe in developing a system that works for all Pennsylvanians.   Combat Drug and Alcohol Addiction

● The drug crisis and alcohol addiction have disproportionately affected Pennsylvanians. Every day, we lose 10 Pennsylvanians to substance abuse disorder. This disease affects every person in the Commonwealth and threatens entire communities.

● In 2017, there were more than 70,200 drug overdose deaths in the U.S.–an age-adjusted rate of 21 per 100,000 persons. The rate of drug overdose deaths was significantly higher in Pennsylvania at 44 deaths per 100,000. The PA overdose death rate was double the national average.

● We support bipartisan legislation on a federal level such as Support For Patients and Communities Act which passed in the U.S. Senate by a vote of 98-1 and the U.S. House approved it by 396-14 in 2018. The bill expanded access to treatment by paying opioid programs for medication, counseling, and treatment. It also allowed the National Health Service Corps to provide care at community-based centers in shortage areas.

● We encourage Democrats on a federal level such as Senator Bob Casey to pursue meaningful legislative change. Casey supported a variety of acts in Congress relating to the drug crisis, such as the 21st Century Cures Act and Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act. This legislation provided $53 million in funding for individuals dealing with opioid use disorders and authorized multiple programs to support evidence-based treatment and intervention programs.  

● Our committee believes that this crisis of opioid and alcohol addiction needs a comprehensive legislative program that tackles the issue on multiple fronts. Our policy involves providing education on drug and alcohol abuse, rehabilitating victims through professional care and community-based centers, addressing the shortage of treatment beds and doctors with specialized training, and seeking legal action against those who profit from the crisis. Legislative reform is essential because the drug crisis profoundly impacts rural and urban communities throughout the entire Commonwealth.

● We also support legislation that would prosecute those companies that benefit from the crisis. In 2019, Angel Cruz, a Democratic member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, co-sponsored House Resolution 344 that called on the Attorney General to file lawsuits against companies that "caused or contributed to the opioid crisis."   Treat Mental Health Care No Differently Than Physical Health Care

● We must treat mental health issues with the same care and intensity that we would treat physical health. Mental illnesses are often biologically based like diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.

● We support removing stigmas around mental health such as beliefs that people with psychological issues are weak or violent. According to a report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, most people still believe that individuals with mental illness are dangerous and unpredictable. However, people with mental illnesses are more likely to be the victims of violent crime than the perpetrators. We want to educate Pennsylvanians on the fact that one-in-four Americans live with mental health issues to normalize the discussion and regular preventive care of mental health/wellbeing. In 2014, 56% of American adults with a mental illness did not receive treatment.

● Mental health issues particularly impact our youngest generations. The rate of youth depression has risen from 8% in 2011 to 11% in 2014. 29% of PA high school students report feeling hopeless every day, and 14% report suicidal thoughts. Despite one in ten young people facing depression, over 80% of our children receive no treatment. We want our young people to grow up in an environment that understands their emotional and psychological needs. Therefore, we support the expansion of mental health education in schools through legislation similar to U.S House bill H.R.850. This bill helped institute programs that provide teachers with training on mental health and emotional needs. We encourage further legislation that broadens support of people with mental and emotional illness through financial assistance to nonprofits, educational programs for both parents and children, and increased access to affordable medication.

● Pennsylvania incarcerates more individuals with severe mental illness than it hospitalizes. 12,000 people with mental health issues are in jail compared to 7,000 who are getting professional treatment. We believe these funds would be better served by treating mental illness in centers and professional institutions than mass incarceration.

● We support legislation that would increase access to treatment. We also support legislation such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and PA House Resolution  193. These pieces of legislation would educate people on mental health, address the shortage of mental health professionals in the Commonwealth, and allow people with mental health issues to find employment.   Protect Medicare and Medicaid

● We support state and federal level legislation that expands Medicare to all members of our society. The DCDC supports the expansion and protection of Medicare and Medicaid throughout Pennsylvania. Medicaid provides health coverage to millions of Americans, including pregnant women, seniors, and children.

●  Gov. Tom Wolf brought the state into ACA to significant success in 2015. In 2015, 439,000 people had enrolled through the ACAs Medicaid expansion program. By 2017, 716,000 people in Pennsylvania were covered by Medicaid as a result of the expansion. Today, 2,301,187 people in PA are enrolled in Medicare, and 2,091,220 enlisted in Medicaid.

● Nearly, 53% of people enrolled in Medicare in the Commonwealth were on disability, and 46% were over 65 years old. These programs protect our most vulnerable, and our committee will work tirelessly to protect them.   Examine and Address the Cost Drivers in Health Care

●  The United States healthcare system is the most expensive in the world. We are committed to addressing the cost drivers of the current healthcare while supporting the future implementation of a universal system.  

● Pharmaceutical companies and Pharmacy Benefit Manager (PBM), third party administrators of prescriptions, have benefited most from this increase. PBMs and pharmaceutical companies have shown little transparency, which has resulted in the prices of drugs skyrocketing by 1010%. We believe all people should have affordable access to healthcare and products such as insulin. We reject companies hiking up the prices of products at the expense of patients. The largest pharmaceutical companies are making billions of dollars per year while prescription drug prices increase for our communities. We believe this is irresponsible and against the interests of the American people. Therefore, we would attempt to lower the costs of pharmaceuticals and ensure that people are at the center of healthcare, not businesses.

● Our committee supports the introduction of legislation that would combat the lack of insurance transparency and the narrow health insurance provider networks within the current medical system. Insurance companies act as middlemen between patients and providers, but they frequently agree to pay higher prices to the hospital while patients are stuck with unexpected bills or fees. Many health insurance companies have profits of billions of dollars per year while charging extravagantly high premiums and out-of-network fees to patients. We support legislation that would ensure that insurance companies and hospitals provide more transparency on the costs of patient care.

● Moreover, we support a reduction in tuition and the limiting of overly exhausting workloads for medical students throughout the Commonwealth. Studies have consistently shown that the enormous amount of debt that medical students obtain and their long work hours lead to depression, burnout, and a lack of diversity within the  medical field — the average physician graduates with almost $250,000 in debt. This hurts the quality of patient healthcare. Physicians are often forced to overly specialize in high-income fields and increase the price of service to patients to combat their debt. Reducing physician debt would allow the medical field to develop a more socio-economically diverse profile and encourage doctors to go into primary care and other fields that provide a broader spectrum of prevent health services for our community. 

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© 2020 Dauphin County Democratic Committee | 4811 Jonestown Road, Suite 233, Harrisburg, PA 17109 | 717-233-1321