Healthcare & Mental Health
Affordable health care is a human right and should be available to all Floridians, regardless of age or income. When individuals and families are healthier, we are all healthier. I will fight for affordable health care, including joining the 31 other states who have expanded Medicaid under Affordable Care Act funding.
As the parent of a child who died of a rare disease after having to travel out of state to find treatment, I support increased research funding for rare genetic diseases, which are on the rise in Florida. Newborn testing is critical throughout the state, and Florida already has top-notch facilities like Shands Hospital, Nemours, and the Mayo Clinic that are equipped to address this. Women should have access to affordable and safe reproductive health services. I support a woman’s right to choose and believe that all health decisions should be made between a woman and her health care provider. I also believe that women should have access to contraception through their health insurance. In addition to ensuring Florida’s mothers and children receive the health services they need, I want to make sure our elderly neighbors are not forgotten. I support increased funding for in-home and community-based programs that allow seniors to remain at home.
As a social worker, I know that mental health services in Florida have been neglected for far too long. The state ranks 50th in mental health spending. I will fight for increased funding to existing programs, as well as push for cross-training and multidisciplinary teams of law enforcement officers, school faculty, social workers, and related professionals to respond to those in crisis. Far too many Floridians dealing with addiction and mental illness are stigmatized, misunderstood, and jailed instead of given opportunities to get well. We have an opioid crisis in our state, with 5,725 drug-related deaths reported in 2016. I believe that prevention and treatment are key when it comes to combating this crisis, but not to the point that those who need pain medications are unable to receive them.
In all aspects of healthcare, I believe that hiring more nurses, social workers, and other healthcare professionals — as well as paying them fair wages — is paramount.