Congressional candidate Kermit Jones releases health care plan
Kermit Jones — running for Republican U.S. Rep. Tom McClintock’s seat for California’s 4th Congressional District — recently released his health care plan.
The main components of the Democrat’s nine-page plan are improving access to health care for rural areas, veterans, and women, lowering costs, substance abuse and mental health, improving quality, and increasing transparency.
On universal health care, Jones believes that although it is important to have a public option for health care, those who want to keep their private insurance should be able to.
“Everyone should have access to our health care system, full stop. There should not be anyone that’s left behind because they don’t have the income or don’t have the resources. In that sense, I’m 100% for universal healthcare… we feel that the best way to do that is through a public option.” Jones said. “If people migrated to that public option as apposed to their insurance plan that they have, those other insurance plans will go away, which is the nature of competition… the last thing that we want to do is create a system that is going to unemploy 800,000 people that work in the insurance industry,”
On improving access to health care, Jones, a doctor, said he believes in building infrastructure and increasing the use of telehealth. He wants to increase the tools that doctors have to operate in rural areas with a variety of different patients.
One of the issues that doctors face is wanting to go into the field to help people, but coming out of medical school with mountains of debt which drives doctors to work in hospitals in bigger cities that pay at higher rates.
Jones believes that increasing telehealth would allow doctors to get the infrastructure needed to reach more patients. Increasing telehealth would also be useful to veterans who sometimes have to drive hours away in order to see a veterans healthcare provider.
As the United States has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the developed part of the world, Jones is seeking to address this issue by increasing prenatal care.
“Encouraging to take prenatal vitamins, to make sure they’re doing things that don’t increase their stress levels, while getting plenty of sleep… if you have a woman that’s in a high stress job and working nights, can’t get access to see a doctor, doesn’t have access to nutritious food sources… then the health of her as well as the child has plenty of risk,” Jones said.
Jones plans to help pursue legislation that would increase in-home care, and that would help to cover the costs of care prenatal care during and after pregnancy for up to one year.
“There’s a quote that I remember from med school that would say ‘probably the riskiest thing that women will do in their lives is having a child’ … the rates of post-partum depression are very high as well. We have some situations where people will deliver babies and not get any support on the other side, which can have some very devastating consequences,” Jones said.
One of the more progressive aspects of the health care plan is the idea of decriminalizing certain drug offenses and encouraging rehabilitation versus incarceration — similar to the incentive program recently passed in Oregon for chronic drug users to get help for their addictions.
“If you throw someone with an addiction in prison, then when they get out you’re just going to have a person with an undealt addiction released back into society,” Jones said.
Jones specified that he wants to decriminalize low level offenses for drugs, like marijuana for adults.
Following this plan, Jones also hopes to reduce the costs of rehabilitation programs for drug abusers.
The primary election is in June.
To learn more, visit https://www.kermitjonesforcongress.com/what-i-believe#healthcare.
Elizabeth White is a staff writer with the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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