HEALTHCARE FOR ALL
As a single-mother, Tara has had to work multiple jobs just to afford basic health insurance. In fact her father still drives a bus just to afford the cost of her mother's insulin. We need healthcare solutions that put people over profits.
People wait until symptoms become emergent solely because of the excessive number of monetary bills that result from one visit to the doctor, and this waiting can ultimately negatively affect their health and chance at recovery. Having to choose between feeding your family this week or taking care of your health is not a choice any Pennsylvanian should have to make. We need to prioritize the health of our residents; this has become increasingly clear with COVID-19 that the state must invest in public health to ensure a strong economy and good living conditions.
Healthcare is a human right. That's why Tara is fighting to expand coverage and reduce prescription drug prices.
Lower Prescription Drug Prices
Drug prices in the U.S. have been increasing for the past decade. According to the House Ways and Means Committee, U.S. drug prices are approximately 3.7 times higher than the combined average of 11 other similar countries (1). Specifically, the cost of insulin has doubled from 2012 to 2016 and risen at a steady 20-30% growth rate since according to the Harvard Model Congress (2). Tara will work to cap what we currently pay for prescription drug prices. The government is responsible for protecting individuals from profitable pharmaceutical companies, which is why she supports legislation, like HB 941 (3) and HB 945 (4), to provide cost assistance to those receiving pharmaceutical care. No one should have to ration life saving medicine and Tara promises to fight so that no one does.
Supports Choice of
Your health insurance plan should be tailored to your individual needs. In order to guarantee everyone gets the right plan for themselves, Tara believes we need to ensure a fair and free open market at the provider level. With the idea of healthcare for all, Tara still wants you to have a choice in your healthcare options. Maintaining the competition in the healthcare market can help contain costs, improve quality, and encourage innovation overall (5). In fact, insurers who are participating in the Pennsylvania exchange platform, according to HB3, have proposed an overall 2.6% average rate decrease by next year (6). Ultimately, Tara hopes to provide Pennsylvanians with access to affordable coverage and education pertaining to various insurers, allowing for you to make more informed decisions and promote the competitive market as a whole.
Healthcare Regardless of Employment Status
Bring Salary Raises Back
With health insurance being inexplicably tied to employment status, we leave behind a vulnerable part of the population to suffer from lack of affordable healthcare options. This issue has become increasingly apparent during COVID-19 crisis, where the Lehigh Valley has suffered from a record high 15.9% unemployment rate in the past few months (8). Your ability to work and/or work at a job that provides health insurance should not dictate your ability to receive quality care.
Tara believes we must separate employment status from healthcare enrollment. The first step is to rollback job lock. Job lock is a term used to describe the conditions of employment-sponsored health insurance that discourages people from changing jobs (9). Job lock undermines labor choice and strains those looking to work less hours for personal reasons (i.e. family care and retirement). Once we do away with job lock, we can then ensure that if a person loses their job, they will not have to pay the high rates offered by COBRA, stipulating individuals pay the entire cost of their health insurance. Essentially, Tara believes no one should go bankrupt paying for necessary medical care.
Many employees have not seen raises over the past years because healthcare costs have eaten up their pay increases. In fact, Pennsylvania still has the lowest minimum wage allowed in the country, at $7.50/hour since 2009 (10) and when adjusting for inflation the bottom 60% of workers are making less than they did a decade ago (11). Tara believes we can bring raises back.
By ensuring that everyone has access to healthcare through the state, we allow employers to raise wages and salaries, properly compensating people for the work they are providing and relieving stress on both the employers and employees. No one should be forced to give up earned wage increases at the price of their health. We won’t have to choose when we elect Tara. That's why laborers and healthcare workers support Tara.
Creating an Office of Public Health
Tara has heard from nurses and healthcare workers at Gracedale and around the district, talked to those suffering with high medical bills, and been endorsed by the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals, National Association of Social Workers, the Human Rights Campaign, and the Services Employees International Union Healthcare, to name a few organizations.
Tara supports bills such as House Bill 1862 (12), which would work to protect individuals from surprise medical bills.
Further, she understands that we need someone to fight on behalf of the countless other public health measures that keep us all safe and healthy, which is why she supports creating an Office of the Public Healthcare Advocate. Put People First! PA (13) is an organization working to get Pennsylvanians the representatives they need to cater to public healthcare demands. Healthcare advocates work to decrease this information gap by helping people appeal overcharges and denial of care (14). However, with rising drug and medical bill costs that have left over 1.5 million Pennsylvanians in medical debt (15), it is important we ensure people are treated fairly and are given the information needed to make informed decisions about their health and its costs. Tara promises to fight in Harrisburg to create this unique and critical advocate position.
Learn more at these sources:
Source 1: https://www.healthaffairs.org/do/10.1377/hblog20191003.118206/full/
Source 2: https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5cb7e5637d0c9145fa68863e/t/5dddc0b60c91bc6c3b6bc001/1574813879735/House_OGR_3.pdf
Source 3: https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/billinfo/billinfo.cfm?syear=2019&sind=0&body=H&type=B&bn=941
Source 4: https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/billinfo/billinfo.cfm?syear=2019&sind=0&body=H&type=B&bn=945
Source 5: https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/competition-guidance/industry-guidance/health-care
Source 6: https://www.healthinsurance.org/pennsylvania-state-health-insurance-exchange/
Source 8: https://data.rgj.com/unemployment/northampton-county-pennsylvania/CN4209500000000/
Source 9: https://www.niskanencenter.org/whats-wrong-with-employer-sponsored-health-insurance/
Source 10: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/gov-wolf-proposes-minimum-wage-increase-for-sixth-time/#:~:text=Pennsylvania%27s%20minimum%20wage%20has%20been,wage%20allowed%20by%20federal%20law.&text=The%20governor%27s%20proposal%20raises%20the,%2415%20an%20hour%20in%202026.
Source 11: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/gov-wolf-proposes-minimum-wage-increase-for-sixth-time/#:~:text=Pennsylvania%27s%20minimum%20wage%20has%20been,wage%20allowed%20by%20federal%20law.&text=The%20governor%27s%20proposal%20raises%20the,%2415%20an%20hour%20in%202026.
Source 12: https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/billinfo/billinfo.cfm?syear=2019&sind=0&body=H&type=B&bn=1862#:~:text=Short%20Title%3A,out%2Dof%2Dnetwork%20providers.
Source 13: https://www.putpeoplefirstpa.org/our-campaign/signthepetitionpha/
Source 14: https://www.putpeoplefirstpa.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Petition-for-Public-Healthcare-Advocate-English.pdf?x92736
Source 15: https://www.pghcitypaper.com/pittsburgh/advocacy-project-looks-to-eliminate-millions-in-medical-debt-for-western-pennsylvanians/Content?oid=15672761#:~:text=More%20than%201.5%20million%20Pennsylvanians,care%20system%2C%E2%80%9D%20says%20Fiorillo.