The struggle for universal health care in the United States has lasted nearly a century. Many other developed countries had some form of social insurance that eventually evolved into national insurance for nearly as long as the United States has 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 have consistently shown that 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. And when they do finally seek care, their health outcomes are often worse.
Bill believes that we must work diligently to address health disparities in access and outcomes. He will stand with his state and federal colleagues to fight zealously to preserve the ACA and maximize the number of people with unfettered access to the health care system.
As Commissioner, Bill will:
- 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.