Issues of concern

Where I stand. What I think. How I feel.

Healthcare

Policy visions of a healthcare system include prevention of illness, promotion of health, empowerment of individuals/groups to take assurance for their own health care and the politics to accomplish their goals.

One reason that health care is so expensive is the lobbying by Large pharmaceutical companies who get to influence policy via elected officials.

We need policies to give everyday people a more important role in politics so they can influence important policy making.

Consider passing state legislation requiring preservation of critical elements the Affordable Care Act, even if Congress. Repeals the ACA.

Important elements to protect include;

*continuity of coverage

*sustainability of funding mechanisms

*affordable universal coverage

*preventative care incentives

*pre-existing condition coverage at no extra cost

*parity with mental health and reproductive health

The current political conversation about health care has been limited in scope with emphasis on financial management rather than the ideas that are foundational to the concept of health. There are ten essential components of a public health system that require appropriate analysis and discussion. These ten essential services of a quality health system include the following obligatory services:

*Monitor health status to identify community health problems

*Diagnose and investigate health problems and health hazards in the community

*Inform, educate and empower people about health issues

*Mobilize community partnerships to identify and solve health problems

*Develop policies and plans that support individual and community health efforts

*Enforce laws and regulations that protect health and safety

*Link people to needed personal health services and ensure the provision of health care

*ensure a competent public health and personal care workforce

* Evaluate effectiveness, accessibility and quality of personal and population based health services

*Conduct research to attain new insights and innovative solutions to health problems

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Public Health Service

One definition of health that encompasses essential elements of high level wellness,

optimum capacity of a person to engage in effective living, and performance of roles. A holistic view includes the inter-relationship of all parts that makeup the health of the person.

I agree with many organization including the American Nurses association that an effective health care system includes access, cost, quality and proficient workforce. When designing and implementing a health care system, the effects of any reform must examine the impacts on cost, quality access and the professional workforce.

We need to establish universal health care so that all Americans have access to comprehensive, quality services. This should not be a partisan or political issue but rather a moral one. It is time for Connecticut to Be BOLD for HEALTH CARE.

Paid Family Leave

Connecticut needs to create a paid family leave system modeled on existing programs in California, New Jersey, and Rhode Island. These states have successfully created self-sustaining funds to ensure that workers can earn a portion of their wages when ill or caring for an ill relative.

This model can be expanded to include small businesses that employ at least 25 employees. The Connecticut General Assembly commissioned a report in 2015 that analyzed the details of implementation of paid family leave in CT., based on the usage of our state’s unpaid FMLA. National experts as well as representatives from CT. state agencies participated in the study. It was determined that the proposed Paid Family leave program is sustainable without raising the premium or reducing benefits.

The program works via a well-established insurance type of funding. Employees contribute to a pool that they can draw from when necessary. Unlike a savings account, this insurance type mechanism is sustainable because only a small number of individuals use it at the same time. Startup costs can be funded through bonding with reimbursement to the general fund within an estimated one-year time frame.

Despite broad support from many public and private organizations, the family leave bill did not advance thought he legislature.

Public Education

The fact that funding for public higher education is in jeopardy is shameful. Education is the route to a better life via sound employment opportunities, decent housing and safe living in the community. We must stop the decline in state funding of public higher education. Education is critical as the legacy of the civil rights movement and serves as equal opportunity for all. Public education is essential to the quality of life for individuals and the community and as such should be considered to be a public utility. The future of Connecticut’s economy hinges on high quality education for all.

Voters in the state are waiting for elected officials to take the lead to ensure a robust and affordable, system of higher education. The community colleges and other institutions of higher learning play a vital role in Connecticut’s economy.

Other states have begun creating legislation to cover costs of tuition and other expenses at public institutions of higher education. States determine standards of agreement for students to monitor quality and ensure effectiveness of the program. Connecticut is in the process of exploring feasible solutions to the high cost and prohibitive nature of education. The future of small

business development depends upon effective public policy decisions in education. It is imperative that elected officials carry through on these efforts to guarantee quality, affordable education for the good of all.

Investments in schools improve outcomes for everyone including the community. The maxim “a rising tide lifts all ships” is true. We can invest in education by realigning services and spending to ensure opportunity for all while safeguarding the future of Connecticut.

Raising the Minimum Wage

Wages are flat despite the activity in the economic sector. The federal minimum wage was last raised in 2009 so states and cities across the United states are taking matters into their own legislatures with suggested raises to the minimum wage.

Why? There are only a few counties in the United states where one can live on minimum wages. Working full time at $ 10. an hour is only $ 20,000 per year. A $15 an hour minimum wage yields an annual salary without vacation time of $31,000.

The arguments against raising the minimum are many but they do not hold up to scrutiny. Raising the minimum wage is good for the economy. The vast majority of the economy is from consumers purchasing things such as food, clothing, electronics, cars and fast food. The economy of Connecticut needs people with money to spend. The conservative echo that raising the minimum wage is bad for small business is not true and research proves otherwise. Each year of the minimum wage increase brings increases in sales to small business. Ct.is at a competitive disadvantage to surrounding states that have a higher minimum wage since low wage employees are attracted to areas with better wages.

The largest majority of low wage earners are not teenagers as the opposition dialogue declares. Low wage earners are disproportionately adults and almost 30% have children. Raising the minimum wage lifts people out of poverty and creates a better economy. it is not anti-small business as conservative pundits would have the public believe.

Raising the pay of low wage workers can improve the quality of communities. A higher minimum wage is more effective in lifting people out of poverty than other programs such as food stamps, subsidized housing and other benefits. Employees can barely pay the bills with minimum wages never mind spend time with families or engage in civic responsibilities. Fair wages are central to building stronger companies and communities.