AMWA Backs Building A Better America to Improve Healthcare for All
The White House plans for building a better America were laid out in President Biden’s State of the Union Address this week. Many of the key points have an impact on the health of our patients, particularly the social determinants of health that perpetuate health disparities. As such, we urge Congress to support these plans.
AMWA has provided a summary of the key points to help our members advocate locally and nationally for provisions that have the potential to improve healthcare for all Americans. Consider writing op-eds about any of these issues, adding your perspective as a healthcare practitioner regarding the impact of these issues on the patients you serve. In italics we provide talking points about AMWA’s areas of advocacy and commitment.
Specifically, the plans will:
- Create more jobs and increase the minimum wage
- Job stability and income are key components of our patients’ well-being so that they may afford healthy foods, housing, health insurance, and more. We also advocate for increased residency positions to meet the healthcare workforce shortage.
- Decrease the cost of childcare and extend the Child Tax Credit
- AMWA supports affordable childcare that will promote gender equality and support women’s participation in the workforce and in leadership roles.
- Improve transportation infrastructure
- AMWA supports improved transportation systems that will better connect people to jobs, education, and society.
- Fight climate change and promote environmental justice
- AMWA is member of Medical Society Consortium on Climate and Health whose mission is to “to successfully advocate for equitable climate solutions that protect and promote the health of all people.”
- Ensure clean drinking water
- AMWA has supported efforts to remove lead pipes and safeguard drinking waters. In 2016, we honored public health trailblazer, Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha with the AMWA Presidential Award for her efforts in Flint Michigan. She also delivered the AMWA Gala Keynote in 2021.
- Provide affordable housing
- AMWA supports programs that create affordable housing that will ensure the safety and well-being of our patients.
- Invest in education, especially community colleges
- Better education can lead to jobs that provide health insurance and the income to support healthier diets, better housing, and other health benefits.
- Reduce health insurance premiums
- Accessible and affordable healthcare is a core mission for AMWA.
- Reduce drug costs and allow Medicare to negotiate drug pricing
- Accessible and affordable healthcare is a core mission for AMWA.
- Prevent crime
- AMWA advocates for the prevention of violence and crime to promote the safety of our communities.
- Reduce gun violence
- AMWA’s Gun Violence Task Force works to address gun violence as a public health issue and defends the right of physicians to discuss gun violence with patients.
- Support the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)
- In 1994, AMWA members urged the passage of the first Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and its subsequent reauthorizations. We again support the reauthorization of the VAWA Act of 2021.
- Support the bipartisan Equality Act that protects rights for LGBTQ+ individuals
- AMWA’s LGBTQ subcommittee helps foster an inclusive environment in AMWA for physicians, residents, and students by providing educational and mentorship opportunities and supporting organizations that work toward equal rights for LGBTQ individuals and families in the broader community. We support the bipartisan Equality Act.
- Reform immigration laws, including a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers
- AMWA supports immigration law reform, especially those that would provide a pathway to citizenship for medical students who are Dreamers.
- Prevent human trafficking
- AMWA works to prevent human trafficking through PATH (Physicians Against the Trafficking of Humans), our initiative to educate healthcare practitioners to recognize and treat victims of human trafficking.
- Improve standards for nursing homes
- AMWA supports better nursing home standards which will mean higher quality care for older Americans.
- Ensure available affordable high-speed internet throughout the country
- Access to high-speed internet will enable more patients to access telehealth technology as well as other valuable tools to monitor their own health. We support equitable access to affordable high-speed internet.
- Provide access to COVID-19 vaccination, testing, masks, and treatment
- AMWA has partnered with the COVID-19 Community Corps, Made to Save, and the COVID-19 Vaccine Education and Equity Project to promote COVID-19 vaccination. AMWA has also addressed sex and gender specific issues during the pandemic, including the need for better PPE fit for women.
In addition, the plans will also:
- Preserve reproductive choice
- AMWA has been a longtime supporter and champion of reproductive choice for women.
- Fund the Advanced Research Projects Agency to “drive breakthroughs in cancer, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes, and more”
- AMWA has partnered with Women Against Alzheimer’s, the LEAD Coalition, and the Alzheimer’s Disease Policy Task Force in a commitment to improve the quality of life among people facing dementia and advancing therapies for Alzheimer’s Disease and related dementias.
- Address harmful practices of social media platforms that impact youth
The President’s Unity Agenda aims to focus on 4 areas that rise above partisan politics:
- Address the opioid crisis
- AMWA’s Opioid Addiction in Women task force has been working to educate members about risks of opioid addiction in women, sex differences in pain experience and opioid response that could lead to addiction, care of patients, alternative therapies, and administration of naloxone.
- Improve mental healthcare
- AMWA has advocated for the normalization of mental health treatment for healthcare providers and the reframing of medical licensure questions to remove barriers to care.
- Support veterans, including those harmed by environmental exposures
- AMWA has a strong membership representation of both active military and veteran members. We support initiatives to improve veterans’ health.
- Reignite the cancer moonshot
- AMWA co-hosts the yearly HPV Awareness Week and participates in initiatives to eliminate cervical cancer. We support efforts to reduce death rates from cancer by improving diagnostic and therapeutic approaches.
AMWA looks forward to working with Congress on achieving these goals to improve the health of our nation.
Read the Op-Ed from Dr. Rita Kuwahara, AMWA’s Vice-Chair, Policy and Advocacy Committee.