Despite statements to the contrary by various individuals, PPE has remained in short supply throughout the country. If elected, how will you ensure that every state and US territory is provided with enough medical supplies and capacity to manage the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the next one(s)?
The coronavirus has placed a tremendous strain on the healthcare system, and the rise in unemployment has resulted in many people losing their health insurance, amplifying disparities in access to health care. If elected, what would you do to help the healthcare system and all the people who need it? Would you expand coverage with a public option or a Medicare For All concept, something else, or nothing?
This issue was my primary motivation for running for office. Thirty two other other countries currently enjoy universal healthcare, including all the other major nations on Earth, but not the United States. About 40% of us are either uninsured or ‘underinsured’; either way we are unable to afford the care we need. The pandemic has helped to expose the folly and inhumanity of having a system where health insurance is tied to employment in any way shape or form - About 12 Million Americans have lost health insurance this year alone, through no fault of their own. Our system is not just. The policy I support to rectify this long-standing injustice is the one supported by the majority of American people (and over 80% of Democrats): Medicare-for-All single payer universal health insurance, where comprehensive health care is provided free to all. If anyone asks ‘how are you going to pay for it?’ you can tell them that studies agree Medicare for All is LESS expensive than our current healthcare system, up to 15% cheaper - a savings of up to $500 Billion per year (1). The expense is lower, and it could be divided up fairly, on a sliding scale so to speak, with progressive income tax. Americans still get the same doctors (in fact any doctor, no more networks), the same medicines, and the same hospitals, it’s only that the bills are paid in Washington DC. If we need to tweak the system to improve coverage we can do so through democracy - try improving your healthcare plan if you don’t like it. 1.“22 studies agree: ‘Medicare for All’ saves money.” The Hill. Diane Archer 2/24/20.
Do you agree or disagree with President Trump's recent decisions to label certain American cities as "anarchist," and to send federal agents – uninvited by local authorities – into cities such as Portland, Oregon? In your opinion, is this a legitimate use of federal force and rhetoric, or is this an overreach?
The pandemic has led to massive changes in our workforce, with many jobs disappearing entirely, at least for now. If elected, how do you envision reshaping the workforce to create new opportunities for those whose jobs have evaporated – for example, in restaurants and bars and throughout the service sector?
COVID-19 and the resulting recession have increased the number of people who qualify for Medicaid just when state revenues are dropping. Will you support more relief for state Medicaid programs to continue coverage levels and ensure access to providers?
The coronavirus is going to be with us for the foreseeable future, bringing with it, massive ongoing disruption to all of our systems, from food supply to employment to health care to education and more. From a broad perspective, how do you holistically envision addressing this crisis in the long-term?
Science tells us that deadly pandemics such as this are infrequent, but inevitable. Ignoring this science allowed us to let our guard down, and thus we were caught unprepared for SARS-CoV-2. We have been underfunding pandemic preparedness, and underfunding Public Health in general. The Affordable Care Act established a Public Health and Prevention Fund, a fund which soon found itself being raided by both major parties to pay for 'other priorities.' In a world where we are all interdependent, we also need universal healthcare: Medicare for All single payer comprehensive free health insurance for all. More specifically regarding managing the current pandemic, we need to ensure that we do several things. 1. Ensure that hospitals have adequate supplies of PPE and ventilators. 2. Ensure that we have the capacity to perform optimal testing, contact tracing, and isolating, which includes in some cases providing isolation quarters for patients who need to isolate away from those they live with, as has been provided by many other governments. 3. Communicate the science of mask effectiveness to the public clearly and broadly as possible. 4. Offer science-based guidance to states and municipalities, as well as funding they may need. 5. Ensure the rapid but safety-tested development of an effective vaccine. 6. After protecting the American public, work to help the rest of the world - this is a global problem that affects us indirectly as well. 7. Ensure that the economic repercussions are fully addressed with direct aid to individuals - it is now past time for another $1,000 per person check for every American, and more direct aid to struggling businesses, states, municipalities, and tribes.
Many Americans are now calling racism a public health crisis in our country, with policy implications and disparities across multiple sectors like law enforcement, residential zoning, healthcare access, employment, and educational equity, among others. What measures must Congress take to address racism and its impact over many generations in America?
Racism has been a chronic ongoing public health crisis in our Nation since the beginning. Some have estimated that before the abolition of slavery, slaveholders reaped about $14 Trillion (in today’s dollars) worth of unpaid labor from their captives. Even after the abolition of slavery, racist attitudes and blatantly racist laws denied African Americans equal opportunity, or just compensation for their labor. The scars of housing discrimination and employment discrimination are still with us. Not until the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was racial discrimination made illegal in matters of housing, schooling, and employment. The agency that enforces this law, the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), is chronically underfunded, it lacks the needed staff and resources to confront bad actors; its funding level must be dramatically increased for the goals Civil Rights Act to be realized, as well as close employer exemption loopholes in the law. In addition to advocating for improved enforcement of anti-discrimination laws, I advocate for Public Health interventions against racism itself - the topic should be discussed in schools to raise understanding. Reforms that root out discriminatory policing and excessive use of force, an issue that has been brought to the fore by the Black Lives Matter movement this year, I support fully. Finally, I advocate for a host of policies that will help elevate the economically underprivileged in general, including free universal Pre-K, college, and trade school, a living wage, a Federal Jobs Guarantee, Medicare for All, and a more progressive income tax to adequately fund housing and welfare programs. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer, unless you do something about it.
What measures do you support to help protect voting rights this year and for the years ahead, within the context of the pandemic and post-pandemic voting?
Do you agree or disagree with President Trump’s directive for all schools to return to a full schedule this school year? What parameters and/or process do you endorse in making decisions involving the operation of public schools in the age of COVID-19?
The world is facing an impending climate emergency. With the US spending more than the next 10 countries combined on our military budget, do you think that it is important that we transition some of those resources to combat and build resiliency ahead of a predicted global climate catastrophe? How can Connecticut’s existing engineering, manufacturing, and technical project management expertise be transitioned to address that next emergency before it is too late?
Climate Science tells us clearly, and most Americans understand, that we must act urgently to reduce our emissions or else face grave consequences. Truly urgent action means not only a Green New Deal investing in clean energy, but also putting a price on carbon pollution or banning fracking outright, policies which also enjoy wide support among the public, but not among members of Congress . The time to act was 30 years ago, and now that we have delayed our actions must be more bold. The majority of Americans, including 90% of Democrats and 60% of Republicans, also support reducing our military spending, which has ballooned by 50% over the past 20 years, to the point it has become over 50% of the discretionary budget. These increases have however been very popular in one place - Congress. Our current representative for example recently voted For the $740 Billion 2021 Pentagon Budget (HR6395) and Against a proposed modest 10% cut (Pocan amendment 839) that would have made $74Billion available for funding solutions to pressing needs regarding clean energy, housing, education, healthcare, public health and prevention, and poverty. Americans need jobs, and there is work to be done converting to a clean-energy economy: internal combustion engines need to be replaced with electric motors - we need to drastically increase electricity generating capacity and storage capacity - and buildings need to be refitted so that heat needs to come from electricity, not fossil fuels. A Federal Jobs Guarantee is another policy that enjoys majority support among the public but not in Congress. My father Vincent was an aeronautical engineer who helped design blades for the Blackhawk helicopter at Sikorsky. Sikorsky makes a fine helicopter, but I bet they could produce a fine wind-turbine too, if we act to build demand, and to free the needed funds by cutting back on the bloated Pentagon budget.
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