Boston, MA — Today, gubernatorial candidate and national pandemic response leader Danielle Allen unveiled her health agenda — a transformative set of policies to trigger a paradigm shift towards centering health equity across all policy areas, including equitable pandemic resilience. The full agenda is available here, and a summary is available here.
The latest in a series of bold policy agendas, the health agenda draws on Allen’s work as an early national voice on pandemic response. These last tough two years have shone a new light on the ways health isn’t equal in our state, or our country. In 2020, Massachusetts recorded the third highest number of COVID-19 deaths per capita in the country. Chelsea was among the municipalities with the highest COVID-19 mortality rates in the nation. Faced with this reality, Allen aims to not only fix the gaps in healthcare, but also address the social determinants of health — to ensure everyone has access to the resources needed to stay healthy in the first place.
“Massachusetts has a proud leadership record on health, but our excellence on average hides wide gaps that still exist in health across our state,” said gubernatorial candidate Danielle Allen. “We need to not only close the gaps in healthcare, but also start asking the bigger question: how can we get to a place where no matter our background, identity, income, or zip code, we all have equal access to a great standard of health? It’s time for a paradigm shift: a shift towards health equity. This is how we can make sure everyone in our Commonwealth has access to a great foundation for health.”
To make that happen, an Allen administration will prioritize:
- Leading for equitable pandemic resilience, including by pressing forward on community-based vaccine drives, ramping up quality rapid testing availability, investing ARPA funds in building out school-based health teams and public health infrastructure, transitioning to using hospitalization metrics, and investing in the community organizations that have been leading equitable pandemic response.
- Addressing the social determinants of health, including by closing the SNAP gap, expanding PACE for low-income seniors, activating our healthcare system’s support for patients’ social needs, and centering housing and environmental justice.
- Fully integrating behavioral health into our health system by increasing mental health provision in schools, fighting for coverage of a yearly mental health wellness check, expanding access to in-patient substance use disorder treatment and community-based, peer-support centers and healing communities for people in recovery or dealing with trauma, and addressing behavioral health disparities across the health system.
- Ensuring health coverage is truly universal. To close the gaps in coverage and ensure coverage is high quality for all, we will make being insured the default through auto-enrollment for people eligible for public plans, ensure undocumented people can get quality health coverage and services, and strongly support community health centers and safety net hospitals.
- Bringing services to where people are to support healthy and resilient communities — making getting healthcare simpler and easier through school, public health, and community health center partnerships; strengthened public health infrastructure; and reduced use of research hospitals for routine care.
- Making health care affordable — acting to ensure fair pricing through caps on price growth at high-cost providers, use of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid reference pricing methods for routine “shoppable” services, and anti-trust measures to counteract the impacts of market concentration.