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healthcare is a human right. Period.

Healthcare is a human right. In New York, healthcare should be available to all, regardless of income, immigration status, or ability to pay. Our for-profit healthcare system has led to skyrocketing medical debt, preventable deaths, and runaway prescription drug prices. This must end. 

Everyone should have access to free, quality, comprehensive, and affirming care. Universal healthcare coverage must include mental, dental, vision, and long-term care. 

Not only does every New Yorker deserve full access to healthcare, frontline workers need full protection. Health workers continue to be the heroes keeping our city alive. Yet they have not been fairly compensated with essential pay and benefits. I will fight to get our care workers fair compensation and dignified conditions.

universal healthcare in new york

Our top healthcare priority must be to create a broad, universal program that guarantees healthcare for everyone. 

I support the New York Health Act to guarantee every New Yorker access to free, universal healthcare – including mental healthcare, dental care, vision and long-term care. This statewide program will cover all New Yorkers with no premiums, no deductibles, no co-pays, and no need to hunt for in-network providers. 

As a healthcare worker, I have seen the consequences of people not receiving necessary long-term care. But despite enjoying majority support in our state legislature, our leaders are choosing not to bring the NY Health Act to a vote. Every year that passes without universal coverage is a year where New Yorkers are forced to continue putting off preventative care and struggling to afford life-saving treatment.

Passing the New York Health act will dramatically improve the lives and health of working-class New Yorkers. I am committed to fighting for it in Albany.

Immediately Expand Healthcare Access 

While we work toward passing and implementing the New York Health Act, there are other measures we must immediately pass to expand coverage and reduce harm. 

I support Coverage for All, which will expand health care access to low-income undocumented New Yorkers. This legislation will allow undocumented New Yorkers to access the State’s Essential Plan on the healthcare exchange. I have family members who are undocumented, so this issue is especially personal for me.

As a mental health social worker, I understand how essential mental health treatment is, and how difficult it is to access it. I also know that the pandemic has amplified the mental health crisis in our communities. Our state budget must increase funding for mental health programs, especially for children and our youth

I support funding community health centers and other locally-driven healthcare facilities. Inadequately funded hospitals in low-income communities, communities of color, and immigrant communities mean that our most vulnerable neighbors receive inferior care and worse health outcomes. This is unacceptable. 

We can ensure that funding for safety-net hospitals, which serve low income communities across our state, is targeted to serve hospitals with the highest level of need. Increasing Medicare reimbursement rates for both safety-net and qualified safety-net hospitals will ensure that all communities have adequate access to quality and affordable healthcare. 

Reproductive & Maternal Health

In Albany I will fight to ensure universal access to abortion and reproductive healthcare. In New York, the right to an abortion is enshrined in state law. But many still face financial barriers when accessing their right to an abortion. I support requiring all insurance companies operating in New York State to cover abortion procedures.

I support improving access to maternal healthcare, especially in Black and brown communities. The crisis of maternal mortality and healthcare disparities for Black and brown birthing people is especially acute in New York City. Black mothers are twelve times more likely to suffer from pregnancy-related death than white mothers. New York State should increase access to birth workers, such as midwives and doulas, by funding these services through the state budget.

I also support extending Medicare coverage to a full year after giving birth to help ensure New York decreases preventable maternal deaths. Currently, special Medicaid eligibility for pregnant people ends just sixty days after giving birth, but the risk of maternal mortality remains elevated until one year after giving birth.

support healthcare workers

Throughout the pandemic, healthcare workers have been rightly praised for putting their own health on the line to treat patients. But gratitude does not provide our healthcare workers with the pay and protections they need. 

The pandemic and staffing shortages have been used to justify exploitative working conditions and grueling hours for nurses and other care workers, but those very exploitative conditions contribute to staffing shortages.

I support legislation to regulate the nurse-to-patient ratio and create minimum staffing standards. I also support hazard pay and retention incentives for nurses, and stringent regulation of temporary healthcare work staffing firms. Nurses have been overworked by our healthcare system for decades, leading to negative health outcomes and even deaths. This must end.

These essential care workers are suffering in inhumane working conditions and working for poverty wages. The pandemic and staffing shortages have been used to justify exploitative working conditions and grueling hours for nurses, but those very exploitative conditions are part of what drive staffing shortages.

We must also immediately end the shameful treatment of home care workers and end the 24-hour work day. I support Fair Pay for Home Care to mandate a higher pay floor going forward, but the past exploitation of these workers must be addressed as well. We must mandate the full repayment of back wages stolen from home care workers.