HEALTHCARE FOR EVERYONE. The spread of COVID-19 has made plain a truth that we too often forget: We are all in this together. We must care for each other in order to thrive.

The way forward is clear. It’s time to implement a single-payer healthcare system – one that cuts costs, saves lives, and upholds a bedrock principle: Healthcare is a human right.

For too long, our healthcare system has left millions of our fellow citizens uninsured and under-insured. While insurance companies have raked in profits, everyday people have suffered. Medical bills are the number one cause of bankruptcy in this country, and each year, tens of thousands of people die because they lack health insurance.

As mayor of Holyoke, I’ve seen the shortcomings of our healthcare system up close. That’s why I launched the Mayors for Medicare for All initiative, forming a coalition of mayors throughout Massachusetts calling for a single-payer system. I’ve also worked extensively with the Holyoke Community Health Center to expand recovery services.

The failures of our current system are evident throughout the district, too. Rural access to healthcare facilities continues to decline. Mental health treatment has dwindled and become privatized.

In Congress, I will fight to ensure that everyone in MA-1 has access to healthcare, no matter who you are, where you live, or how much money you earn. Here’s what a single-payer system would mean for our communities:

Universal Coverage and Comprehensive Care: After a phased transition to a single-payer system, every person living in the United States would be covered and able to access the medical care they need when they need it – and from the doctors they choose. Such coverage would include: hospital and outpatient services, dental, vision, women’s health services, mental healthcare, maternity and newborn care, long-term services, affordable prescription drugs, substance abuse treatment, laboratory services, and ambulatory care. This eliminates copays, deductibles, and premiums for all Americans.

We would see an immediate end to Surprise Medical Billing. Full stop.

Reproductive Rights. Abortion is healthcare. I would advocate for a healthcare system that funds Planned Parenthood and repeals the Hyde Amendment. I would also fight to codify Roe v. Wade into federal law. All reproductive services will be covered under Medicare for All. We also need to reckon with the high rates of low birth weight and preterm birth experienced by women of color – including many right here in our district. A single-payer system will ensure equitable access for communities that have been historically underserved and overlooked.

Prescription Drug Pricing: Americans are currently paying exorbitant prices – higher than in any other nation in the world. A single-payer system would give the federal government power to negotiate substantially lower costs of prescription drugs.

Support for Rural and Underserved Communities: Along with a special projects budget for capital expenditures in rural or medically underserved areas, a single-payer system would provide coverage for long-term and in-home care. This would enable people to stay near their families or in their homes, which is especially valuable in rural areas.

Access to Addiction & Recovery Treatment: Under a Medicare for All system, we will expand treatment for people in recovery, and open more rehabilitation spaces that offer patients the time they need.

Healthcare policy gets to the core of who we are as a people. As Patrisse Khan-Cullors asks, “What is the impact of not being valued? How do you measure the loss of what a human being does not receive?” It is immeasurable, and in this palpable way, we can change things.

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