California Democrats believe that health care is a human right not a privilege. The CDP recognizes the health and well-being of Californians cannot continue to be based on arbitrary private and public financial decisions and therefore advocates legislation to create and implement a publicly-funded single-payer, privately delivered, fiscally tractable, affordable, comprehensive, secure, high-quality, efficient, and sustainable health care system that provides universal coverage for all Californians.
The COVID pandemic has revealed long-standing health care inequities based on race and socioeconomics; exposed inadequate workplace protection and safety measures that can have lethal consequences; shown that employment-based health coverage is not reliable for all; and, demonstrated the need for a more robust public health system. Moreover, many public safety problems can be better treated as public health needs, addressed through expanded mental health and substance abuse services.
To build a healthy future for all Californians, Democrats will:
- Protect the gains in health care coverage established under the Obama Administration and support and implement universal comprehensive health care and health coverage for all Californians regardless of income or employment status that includes medical, dental, and vision care, hearing aids, full reproductive health services that respects an individual’s right to abortion, preventive services, prescription drugs, mental health and substance abuse counseling and treatment, and long-term care;
- Support holistic healing practices and alternative medicine, particularly those areas licensed by the state such as acupuncture and medical cannabis and utilized to relieve intractable pain without the side effects of conventional controlled drugs;
- Monitor legislation enacted to address adequacy of health care networks that provides for better access to services and addresses cost disparities, particularly in our rural communities;
- Monitor legislation enacted to remedy any uncertainty concerning dispensing of medical cannabis with regard to state law that will provide for rights of medical cannabis patients and specify means and manner of dispensing to qualified patients, even in light of the passage of cannabis for recreational use;
- Lead the nation in providing comprehensive quality health care to all our people by enacting SCHIP (State Children’s Health Insurance Program) coverage for all children in California;
- Enact legislation to provide for doctor-directed levels of rehabilitation for brain injuries in all private health care plans and public health care programs, including injuries sustained through repeated trauma as in sports that manifest at a much later date;
- Work to strengthen Medi-Cal and Medicare and oppose efforts to privatize such safety-net programs;
- Advocate for Medicaid and Medicare reimbursements that reflect the average cost of living index of a particular state rather than the current uniform national reimbursement rates;
- Simplify language and plan choices for ease of understanding to individuals making health coverage decisions;
- Support a requirement that all HMOs and health insurers obtain prior approval from the state before rates can be increased and until such time as all Californians are covered by publicly-funded health care;
- Support an independent panel free of health care industry conflict to oversee rate increases, cost-effectiveness, and quality of care;
- Support the state in coordinating with the Federal government in regulating and controlling the cost of prescription drugs;
- Ensure that loss of employment does not cause a loss of health care;
- Fight to eliminate ostensible denial of coverage because excessive rating based on pre-existing conditions;
- Work to expand affordable health care coverage and protections for people living with HIV and AIDS;
- Work to ensure access to necessary health care for historically marginalized LGBTQ seniors;
- Work to ensure that home and community-based care is expanded with stable funding sources, giving special attention to isolated rural communities, so that such care is affordable to all Californians and in particular, allowing seniors and people with disabilities to live at home and in the community without having to spend down assets and live in poverty to qualify for existing programs;
- Expand and strengthen respite care and in-home support services including adequate background checks prior to licensure, and promote an in-home support services system;
- Recognize the physical and financial burdens of family caregivers and support legislation and programs to provide adequate training, assistive interventions, and financial safety nets such as employer savings and tax credits;
- Ensure economic and physical access to multilingual health care services;
- Support addressing health care disparities and promote the goals of the Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health;
- Support the full funding of community clinics and health centers that serve low-income and homeless populations;
- Protect funding for health care services as mandated by voters from being transferred or redirected for any other purpose [e.g., Mental Health Services Act (Proposition 63)];
- Advocate for parity in behavioral and mental health services as with physical health services, including timely access, universal coverage and funding, and development of a competent behavioral health workforce to address mental health and substance abuse as an alternative to prison;
- Support re-establishment of State mental health services with an adequate supply of beds for inpatient services and provide for those with extreme mental health problems, even if involuntarily, as an alternative to prison;
- Enforce the Patient’s Bill of Rights;
- Affirm that medical decisions must be made with respect for patients’ rights to privacy and freedom to have control over their lives with fully informed consent;
- Invest in education, incentives, and other means to prevent disease and promote healthy living; and,
- Lead the fight against diseases by supporting and expanding wellness and disease prevention using stem cell, microbiome, and other groundbreaking research.
Death with Dignity
To ensure death with dignity, California Democrats support the right of any competent adult suffering intractable pain as a consequence of a terminal illness to obtain the assistance of medical doctors in painlessly ending one’s own life with current and humane methods available. We support safeguards to ensure that this right of the patient self-determination will not be misused by either family members or health care personnel to precipitate the demise of any person, including any disabled person who desires to continue living.
We advocate that a patient be fully informed of the views of a medical facility and options as to care, medication, and resuscitation to allow for individualized decisions and consent to care. We support reimbursement to doctors, including Medicare doctors and other healing professionals, who may utilize holistic treatment modalities when administering pain management protocols, including reimbursement when patients request voluntary consultation about end-of-life care.