Washington is deadlocked on health care. We cannot wait for the federal government to act in order to provide universal, affordable health care to the people of Florida. Our state’s life expectancy is 80 years, and we, on average, spend 20% of our hard-earned dollars on obtaining health care. Other countries, such as Germany, Ireland, and Japan have better health care results while not spending as much as we do. We can have a better healthcare system, and instead of forcing everyone into a government program, we can look around the world to see what works.
The most comprehensive solution for our state is to offer a public insurance option. This is a tried-and-true policy that has been successfully implemented in democratic, free-market countries such as Germany, Ireland, and Japan. Floridians would be able to purchase insurance through an affordable, state-backed plan, though private insurance would always be available as an option for those that would want to keep it. A public insurance option would also provide incentive to private insurers and medical providers to keep their costs low and affordable.
I recognize that implementing a public option is an ambitious goal that will take some time to implement, and we need immediate solutions to health care affordability. The best thing our state can do right now is to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. The Affordable Care Act was a great turning point in the quest for better access to health care, and it is unconscionable that the politicians in Tallahassee refused to accept Federal funding to expand Medicaid, cutting off access to healthcare for millions of Floridians.
Politicians in Tallahassee keep talking about better mental health care as a solution to our gun violence crisis, while not doing anything to actually make mental health care more accessible and affordable. I will work to include mental health coverage in any public insurance option, and I will work to require insurers to provide mental health coverage in their basic insurance plans. Furthermore, I will ensure that we have mental health professionals at all Florida schools and universities to get Florida students all the help they need.