It's time we take our futures into our own hands

Issues


Our Healthcare

Stocksy_txp6a30bf6axIo100_Small_1741840.jpg

It’s amazing how little healthcare experience the people who write our healthcare policies have. I bring 12 years of hands-on experience to the table – from the bedside to the boardroom, from private industry to government. So let me put it simply. Our current system is broken because it’s based on profit. It turns health into a commodity and holds people hostage to insurance companies. And I want to change that.

When it comes to healthcare, we all pretty much want the same thing: to know that if we need help we’ll get it. Thing is these days though, too many people see government as a threat to healthcare - either making it too expensive or taking away what we already have. That’s just wrong. Government is meant to protect us. All of us. And I believe it can.

I believe healthcare will work better if it’s based on people, not profit. I believe it’s time we had a real alternative to the market-based system. I believe the people of Michigan should have the right to invest in themselves and their neighbors. That’s why I support a plan for purchasing healthcare through a state-run public option.

Universal healthcare is the ultimate goal for any civilized society. Using #MIPublicHealth to ensure anyone who needs us will be the fastest way to get us to that goal, without having to wait for the slow, overly politicized changes that happen at the Federal level. This is a realistic program that can be fully realized during my first term in the State Senate.


Here is my 7-Point Proposal for #MIPublicOption.

1. Keep Costs Reasonable

Ensure individual adult monthly premiums do not exceed those that are now paid for private health insurance

Lower premiums for children under 18 as well as family maximums to limit out of pocket costs for large families

Affordable co-pays for Urgent Care or ER visits and no co-pays for primary care, specialist care, diagnostics, labs, therapies, medical equipment or medications

Wave ER/Urgent Care Co-Pays if patient is admitted to the hospital

No deductibles or co-insurance.

2. Assure Compassionate Coverage

No pre-existing condition discrimination

Portable - not job dependent

Not income based. Those who qualify for Medicaid will be eligible for benefits at no cost.

For those over 65 (eligible for Medicare)

Can be used as Medigap coverage

Benefits include home health aids/supports needed to age in place in the home

Complex Case Management for those who qualify

Transportation for those who qualify


 

 

3. Guarantee Essential Benefits

All 10 essential health benefits laid out by the ACA

Mental health and substance abuse services

Maternity, family planning and reproductive healthcare

Vision and Dental options available

4. maintain provider priorities

Higher reimbursements for Primary/Specialist office visits (double Medicaid reimbursement rates)

Eliminate PA/Referrals to streamline office processes

Keep hospital reimbursement rates comparable to Medicare, but decrease with 7-and 30-day readmissions for the same diagnosis and non-reimbursement for “never” events.

Make Complex Case Management available for higher-needs patients

Guarantee reimbursement for covered benefits

Decrease bad debt from patients previously unable to cover healthcare bills

6. Respect Individual’s Concerns

This plan is optional. There is no compulsory effort to have members enroll.

Those opposed to family planning care are not compelled to participate.

The Greatest Generation can receive the home care they need now to avoid institutions.

Aging Baby Boomers can remain in their homes longer as they age.

6. Help Businesses & Employees

Businesses may offer to cover the monthly premium directly for employees as an employment benefit, and remain compliant with the ACA.

Employees enjoy free healthcare paid in full by their employer for themselves and their dependents.

The monthly premium for the plan is the entire cost with no additional costs owed by the business.

FMLA to care for sick family members (home health aid benefit.)

Healthier employees will result in higher productivity

Less turnover due to healthcare concerns

7. Support Michigan & Our Citizens

Early intervention and regular care leads to an overall healthier society

More money can be put back into the economy when we stop paying astronomical healthcare costs

Decreased maternal/infant mortality

Runs as a state agency with help from county health departments already established.

Creates thousands of healthcare related jobs to meet the increasing demands for newly accessible care

Will draw people back to the State of Michigan


Our Schools

Schools in the 15th State Senate District are some of the very best in the state. It makes me very proud to call the 15th my home. And as a mom of several students currently attending those schools, I’d like to keep it that way. Unfortunately, some politicians currently in Lansing (and yes, in DC) are trying to give our tax dollars away to for-profit charters – school systems that drain our district’s resources.

In general, Michigan’s public schools are in dire straits. Kids are not getting the education they once did, and it’s getting worse every year. Teachers are being treated like a drain on society, rather than dedicated educators, child advocates and pillars of the community. Public schools are being starved to prop up for-profit school models that can look at kids as dollar signs. They have no requirements for academic achievements. They have no obligations to stay in the communities where they open and can skip town after collecting their money from the state, leaving families behind and letting public schools clean up the mess. We need a major shift in our educational priorities. We need to prioritize children over corporations.

Stocksy_txp6a30bf6axIo100_Small_37499.jpg

we need to: 

  • Ban for-profit charter schools. (Like New York, Rhode Island, Tennessee, and New Mexico.)
  • Protect kids by enforcing minimum standards.
  • Academic achievement
  • Minimum number of school days offered
  • Safe and accommodating environments
  • Adequate notice of school closure
  • Adequate record keeping and storage of student records
  • Demand truth in advertising for charter schools.
  • Reimburse public schools that accept displaced students when a charter school closes.
  • Honor all contracts and pensions for current and retired teachers.
  • Guarantee that all teacher salaries and benefit packages are subject to collective bargaining rights.
  • Treat teachers, school administrators and support staff with the utmost dignity and respect, and compensate them accordingly.
  • Hold all schools accountable for ensuring children receive a quality education, including literacy.
  • Maintain a minimum funding amount per student.
  • Subsidize any public-school district unable to support its students due to a below-average tax base.
  • Protect children with disabilities and ensure their access to public schools.

A High School Diploma is not enough to enjoy a secure, middle-class life anymore. Young people who are just starting out as well as those changing careers need a technical or associates degree, a trade certification or specialized training.

WE MUST: 

  • Amend current High School Diploma programs to include programs that allow students who are willing to participate in special curriculum to graduate High School with an associate’s degree.
  • Empower all public high schools to allow students in 11 or 12th grade to participate in free skills training with the appropriate credits to complete a full certification training.
  • Enable public high schools to offer job placement supports to those graduating from these programs to ensure full employment following graduation.
  • Offer state grants to High Schools & Community colleges that offer free job retraining programs to people who have been laid off or lost jobs.
  • Expand current High School Diploma curricula to include programs including Advanced Placement (AP) courses to equate to an Associates degree upon graduation. (Reducing the time and expense of completing a Bachelor’s Degree.)
  • Allow students to transfer directly into union-funded trade academies.
  • Prevent state money from being spent on non-union trade schools that end up costing more money and paying workers less.
Stocksy_txp6a30bf6axIo100_Small_1416857.jpg

 

Our Water

Everyone has a right to clean, safe drinking water.

Poisoning an entire community over multiple years is immoral. But the fact that Flint residents STILL do not have safe, drinking water, while the state of Michigan sits on a “Rainy Day Fund” is unconscionable. Here’s what I believe should be done.

 
alex-perez-572087-unsplash.jpg
  • Every citizen of Flint affected by this tragedy must have their home infrastructures updated immediately.

  • Every household affected by this tragedy will have all outstanding water debt ERASED as no one should be expected to pay for poisoned water. No consumer would be charged for a toxic product, a utility charged by the city shouldn’t be either.

  • Every person affected by Legionnaires disease, including family members of those who were killed by contaminated water, should have the right to sue the state for damages and should be given legal counsel to do so.

  • The state of Michigan will pay for the same outside whistleblower water quality testing organizations to re-test all water samples following infrastructure repairs, to confirm that the water is safe to drink again.

  • Any community in Michigan that is concerned about the quality of their water will have the right to request an outside, neutral third party test the water quality for the next 50 years, paid for by the state of Michigan.

  • The people of Flint must be given access to free healthcare, nutrition assistance and educational supports for all those affected, FOR LIFE.

     

    This only begins to right the wrongs in Flint. It goes without saying that we need to invest in long term solutions, so people never worry about being poisoned by their drinking water again.

Our LAKES AND Great Lakes are too important to gamble.

Policy that threatens our most beautiful natural resource (not to mention our health) is a non-starter. Here’s where I stand on important environmental issues regarding water. We must:

  • Shut down Enbridge Line 5 before it’s too late. It has already been found to have deficiencies, with experts saying it is “one peak current event away from failure.” It’s a disaster waiting to happen.

  • Resist any efforts to bury Canadian nuclear waste on the shores of Lake Huron.

  • Ensure the vital work of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and keep the invasive species of Asian Carp from gaining access to our lakes.

  • Address the root causes of air pollution, including holding companies responsible for the repercussions of bad decisions.

  • Update infrastructure to address rain water run off that carries ground pollution into our bodies of water

  • Test public lakes regularly to ensure safe swimming conditions.

  • Offer resources for all homeowners with private wells to have them tested for lead and copper.

  • Prohibit the use of hydraulic fracturing (fracking). It has been proven unsafe and poses a significant threat to the safety of our ground water and drinking water.

Stocksy_txp6a30bf6axIo100_Small_1479040.jpg

Our Economy

As a small business owner, I get it. Sometimes decisions need to be based on the bottom line. Businesses have a responsibility to their customers and shareholders. But they also have a responsibility to their employees and the communities that they serve. We need to generously reward businesses that do the right thing.

If we want entrepreneurs to create long-term, high paying jobs, the state needs to act as a partner, not an opponent. We need to provide creative support.

  • Low interest loans
  • Educational and support services to anyone looking to start or sustain a small business
  • Broadband internet service to rural areas so they can fully participate in e-commerce
  • Deferment for state taxes until a certain profit threshold is established

Of course, the State can also create jobs – especially in areas where big projects are on the horizon.

  • Road repair
  • Infrastructure repair
  • Healthcare (#MIPublicOption)
  • Green energy initiatives
Stocksy_txp6a30bf6axIo100_Small_443851.jpg

Now, we can't talk about the economy unless we also talk about adequate family care (child and elder.)

Not every family with young children can afford to have a parent stay home. But with child-care costs on par with college, parents often realize that most of the money they make working, ironically goes to child care. If a family can afford to have a parent leave the workforce, it harms our economy. We need to find innovative ways to address these challenges and encourage young families to stay in Michigan.

we need to:

  • Provide incentives to business and organizations that provide childcare for employees and members.
  • Offer subsidized child-care to those who also qualify for public assistance.
  • Reward companies that offer flexible work schedules, job-sharing and work-from-home programs to facilitate parents remaining in the workforce.
  • Create high school curriculum around careers in childcare: education, healthcare, social work, etc.
  • Ensure that the state partner with high schools and community colleges to offer child care solutions as part of these curricula.
 

I believe that it’s in the State’s interest to partner with businesses that eliminate the barriers that so many workers face to sustained, gainful employment.

One approach to addressing this issue could be placing businesses on a vesting schedule, where financial rewards in the form of tax breaks and grants will only be awarded once a business has a consistent track record of providing essential employee benefits. These include:

  • Earned paid sick/family leave
  • Flexible work schedules/job sharing (if applicable)
  • Telecommuting (if applicable)
  • Child care (either onsite or paid coverage)
  • Transportation
  • Tuition Reimbursement
  • Advancement ladders
  • Prevailing wage
  • Living wage
  • Collective bargaining rights for employees
  • Fully covered health insurance, dental, vision, Long term Disability
  • Employer matched retirement plans (401k, 403b, etc)

 

Our Infrastructure

A healthy infrastructure, especially when it comes to public transportation, is one of the most critical factors in a healthy economy. It’s vital for employment, health, education and accessing all the great things to see and do across the 15th State Senate District. Unfortunately, as the state most recognizably linked to transportation, we are still shockingly behind the times. The state needs to ensure that we can get where we need to go.

 
Stocksy_txp6a30bf6axIo100_Small_455672.jpg

we need to:

  • Invest in robust, extensive public transportation options across the 15th and throughout the state.
  • Ban practices by auto insurance companies that price people out of affordable car insurance.
  • Provide grants to Michigan communities that create comprehensive, affordable public transportation systems.