Health care policy wishes for 2019

By

Deanna Dent

Health care will continue to be in the national spotlight in 2019, as uncertainty lingers about the future of the Affordable Care Act.

Despite regular attempts by politicians to amend or repeal aspects of the landmark health care legislation, it remains the law of the land, providing health care coverage to roughly 155,000 Arizonans and 8.5 million Americans.

As the country grapples with the best way to ensure the health and well-being of its citizens, ASU Now asked College of Health Solutions Assistant Professor Swapna Reddy to reflect on the state of health in America. She shared her top five health care wishes for the new year.

1. Decrease the prevalence of maternal mortality

"The U.S. has the highest rate of maternal mortality in the developed world — and African-American mothers are likely to have the worst outcomes — so we can do better for our women and mothers."

2. Reduce the rate of uninsured children in the United States

"If we say we care about American children — let's operationalize that through policies and action. The U.S. rate of uninsured children has risen for the first time in a decade, despite a strong economy," Reddy said. "This reflects deep inequities and dangerous implications from cuts to public programs experienced by the most vulnerable amongst us."

3. Place more emphasis on preventive health and well-being, especially as it relates to 'diseases of despair'

"Life expectancy has decreased in the U.S for the third year in a row, the only developed country to hold this record. This is largely due to a significant spike in opioid-related deaths and suicides."

4. Ensure and strengthen protections for people with pre-existing conditions and continue to expand access to care through Medicaid expansion

"The American people have spoken decisively that they do not want be discriminated against for insurance coverage based on pre-existing conditions. Let's listen to them and support policy solutions for affordable and comprehensive coverage."

5. Maintain herd immunity for preventable communicable diseases, especially in children

"Let's refocus on evidenced-based medicine to protect the health of all of our children and not turn back the clock on the spread of dangerous childhood illnesses. The U.S. is currently experiencing a rising sentiment in opposition to vaccination for preventable childhood communicable diseases — a dangerous trend, especially in 'hot spots' such as Phoenix that have amongst the highest rates of unvaccinated children in the U.S."