Every person has the right to adequate and affordable health care as well as confidentiality of medical data and records, and the right of deciding the fate of products derived from his or her body.
In California in 2005, 20% of the population is uninsured. Many more have insurance that is inadequate to pay for the care they need. Out-of-pocket costs, such as deductibles, co-pays and the cost of insurance increase every year. Many, especially among seniors, pay out of their pockets for large portions of their health care costs. America spends more per person for health care than any other nation in the world. Yet it ranks only 37th by WHO standards in quality of health care.
Therefore the GPCA advocates the following policies:
The GPCA supports a Single Payer Universal Health Care system. This means health insurance coverage for ALL through a single insurance plan offered by the government, which would control the growth of health care spending through a simplified administrative structure, consolidated financing and purchasing, and statewide health planning.
That system must offer a comprehensive benefit package, including complete medical, dental, mental health, pharmaceutical, chiropractic, vision, hearing, hospice, and in-home care. No necessary service can be left out. If co-pays and deductibles are included to finance the system, they must be reasonable and affordable. This system should also cover long-term care and the medical component of Workers Compensation. We support state or federal efforts that would establish such a system.
Everyone must have access to all necessary medical care, including those who are economically disadvantaged. Preventive care is more effective, more humane and more cost-effective than treating people after they are already ill. Preventive care should be emphasized in the planning and financing of our health care system. Injury prevention and social support services should be supported. Measures to minimize post-traumatic stress syndromes, mental distress, and psychological problems after injury, illness, or social neglect need support too. We also support measures to assure adequate supply of primary care providers, nurses, and other allied health care personnel.
Care must be culturally competent. Our health care system must affirm rights to human dignity, personal choice, and privacy. It must practise respect for racial, ethnic, gender, sexual orientation, age, disabilities, and other cultural needs/differences. We support giving patients complete freedom of choice as to their form of treatment or to refuse treatment, as part of a patient's Bill of Rights.
The GPCA strongly supports a holistic approach to health care. Different philosophies of care, broadly characterized as conventional and alternative/complementary care co-exist and sometimes compete. Both have roles in a modern and compassionate health care system. We support funding for research for both conventional and alternative/complementary care to cure and prevent cancer, heart disease, AIDS/HIV, and other illnesses. We support funding for modalities of care with proven benefit or widespread popular acceptance, such as Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine. We support access to a natural birthing alternative for all women. We support licensing, medical malpractice insurance, and oversight of alternative/complementary care practitioners, identical to that those for other health care professionals. We support encouraging and educating people about healthy lifestyles, and more awareness of mechanisms of self-healing. In addition, we support funding holistic recovery services after any injury or illness.
Health care resources must be distributed fairly and used in an efficient and cost effective manner because these resources belong to all of us. Disparities between care for the wealthy and poor must end. Health care costs in 2005 account for 15% of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product.
We support existing measures, programs, and legislative actions that will increase access to high quality, cost-effective medical services for all Californians until we get a Single Payer system, and as necessary afterwards.
We need reasonable prices for all medical goods and services. The largest single unnecessary cost in 2005 is the health-insurance system. In addition, profits for pharmaceutical and medical equipment companies, health maintenance organizations (HMOs), and for-profit providers are often unjustifiably high. The pharmaceutical industry, for example, has the highest profit margin of any sector of the economy. It is also heavily subsidized by tax breaks, special patent legislation, and lucrative licensing arrangements by the federal government. We assume that Single Payer will bring costs for prescription drugs in line with what others in the world pay. This is accomplished through bulk purchasing. Until Single Payer is established, we support measures such as drug re-importation from Canada and high quality generic drugs to reduce drug costs. Drugs should be developed with public money with the objective of getting the best help for the most people. The public should receive a reasonable financial return on its investment. As long as we use the current system, we oppose any legislation to extend the patent of any specific drug.
We want hospitals, clinics, and other care providers to try to develop management that is democratic and representative. People representing health care workers, consumers, and other public interests should be included on the Board of Directors and other governing structures.
We demand that California's medical marijuana law be fully recognized and implemented by all the appropriate local, state, and federal jurisdictions. The federal government must not interfere with duly-enacted California laws on health care.
We support reimbursement of health care costs FOR ALL, including costs of therapy to treat psychological damage, mental distress, and traumatic shock as well as the physical effects.
The right to informed consent for any individual without force and without coercion relative to his/her own body for any medical, dental, pharmaceutical, or other procedure that involves body tissue/organ extraction, insertion, injection, sampling, or imaging. The informed consent must be verifiable, and neither forced nor coerced.
The products derived from body tissue or organ extraction, and from insertion, injection, sampling, and imaging cannot be used without informed consent of the patient or the person with Power of Attorney.
The right to confidentiality of all medical, dental, pharmaceutical record data for an individual unless otherwise decided by the individual without force and without coercion. Such data also include details on abortions, adoptions, drugs, cloning, test tube babies, aborted fetuses, genes, and DNA.