For over 25 years the United States continues to struggle with providing universal healthcare. Many countries developed some form of national healthcare while the United States wrestled with the concept. Even the passage of Medicare, the national federal health insurance program for people 65 years or older, faced considerable resistance immediately prior to its passage.
Studies consistently show neighborhood conditions—the quality of public schools, housing conditions, access to medical care and healthy foods, levels of violence, availability of exercise options, exposure to environmental degradation—accurately predict who is healthy, who is sick, and who lives longer. Consequently, many Chicagoans go without care because of a lack of insurance coverage, mistrust of the health care system, and other factors. Unfortunately, their health outcomes are often worse, if and when they finally do seek care.
As Commissioner, I believe we must work diligently to address health disparities in access and outcomes. I will continue standing with my state and federal colleagues fighting zealously to preserve the Affordable Care Act and maximize the number of people with unfettered access to the health care system.
As Commissioner, I will continue to:
- Work to eliminate barriers to high-quality, affordable healthcare for individuals and low-income families with low income;
- Support and promote initiatives that address and improve the social, economic, and structural determinants of health;
- Support policies to reduce exposure to environmental and occupational hazards, especially among those at greatest risk;
- Develop and evaluate community-based interventions to reduce health disparities and health outcomes;
- Support and expand training programs that bring new and diverse workers into the health care and public health workforce.