Health and Justice

Our health reform must start by addressing those who have been without coverage, without care, and without support. The healthcare of our community has to provide high quality, second chances, and preventable measures. We have to take care of our most vulnerable because when they are accounted for, we all live better and we all benefit.

 

Medicaid Expansion

Affordable and accessible health care is a necessary requirement for the betterment of our community. When Medicaid is expanded, our most vulnerable neighbors are able to increase their health by gaining coverage and utilizing preventive care measures. Medicaid expansion would lower the cost of our medical services and clinics – for individual patients, as well as for the state – while increasing the health outcomes in our neighborhoods. We must improve the experience of care, improve the health of individuals receiving care, and reduce per capita costs of healthcare.

Why is this important to me?

Growing up in Utah my family often lived below the poverty line and affording health care for our family wasn’t easy. Too many parents have to make hard financial choices between the healthcare of their children and other critical needs, such as food, school supplies, and education. These types of impossible choices can put added strain on an already difficult family situation.  

Policy

  • Full expansion of Medicaid in order to increase Utahns’ coverage, improve access to care, affordability, and health outcomes, and realize budget savings for the state.

 

Disability Rights & Mental Health

The needs of healthcare coverage and access should extend to disability rights, which includes those in our community with physical and mental limits. Disability rights is an important health right and social justice right as it impacts all people but especially low-income and historically underserved populations. This is why disability rights and mental health rights must be a central focus in health and justice legislation.  

Why is this important to me?

We don’t have to look too far to find family members or neighbors that have been affected by mental health issues. Without proper access to care and support these mental health issues can often get exacerbated and can lead to homelessness or suicide. As a community we are judged by how we treat our most vulnerable community members. By helping to manage mental health issues in their earlier stages we can save the state money and provide mental health interventions to those in need.

Policy

  • Support mental health benefits legislation in order to facilitate earlier diagnoses, improve health outcomes, and decrease Utah’s high suicide rate.
  • Increase access to, and use of, mental health services
  • Increase funding to existing school-based mental health facilities and peer-to-peer programs and create additional resources for schools presently lacking these resources.

 

Addressing the opioid epidemic

Opioid and drug addiction are public health issues that impact our neighborhoods and take away our loved ones. This is an epidemic that needs to be addressed with recovery that centers on people’s health and safety while giving them alternative options to reintegrate into society.

Policy

  • Support the legalization of medical cannabis as an alternative treatment for pain
  • Increase the number of beds available for treatment
  • Increase access to drug court

 

Environmental Health Protection

Reducing environmental pollution and addressing the climate crisis is a foundational aspect of the well-being of all Utahns and our families, now and for generations to come.  By safeguarding clean air, protecting clean drinking water, and giving every Utahn the right to choose their energy source, we can secure the basic building blocks that undergird healthy communities and support American energy independence.  We need legislation that better recognizes the connections between a healthy environment and healthy individuals across the state.  And we need legislation that recognizes and centers the critical role of environmental protection in the sovereignty of the tribal communities living in Utah.

Why is this important to me?

As a newlywed, I think often about the possibility of raising children here – as well as the risks a contaminated environment might pose for my children’s health and quality of life.  When I think about our environment, I also see opportunities to address other problems, from the impacts of climate change to dependence on fossil fuels and the degradation of the precious and unique ecosystems we enjoy in the Beehive State.  Many of us love living in Utah because of the beautiful land that surrounds us.  It’s our obligation to protect this quality of life and ensure it’s available to those who have always lived here and to generations to come.

Policy

  • Support policies that advance clean energy alternatives and decrease air pollution
  • Support full protection of Bears Ears National Monument, as advocated by the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition