Health Care has been on the LWV of United States agenda since 1990 when LWVUS undertook study of funding and delivery of health care in the United States and continues as an important area of concern.
The League of Women Voters of United States believes that a basic level of quality health care at an affordable cost should be available to all U.S. residents. Other U.S. health care policy goals should include the equitable distribution of services, efficient and economical delivery of care, advancement of medical research and technology and a reasonable total national expenditure level for health care.
Every U.S. resident should have access to a basic level of care that includes: the prevention of disease, health promotion and education, primary care (including prenatal and reproductive health), acute care, long-term care and mental health care.
Every U.S. resident should have access to affordable, quality in-and-out patient behavioral health care, including needed medications and supportive services that is integrated with, and achieve partly with, physical health care.
Dental, vision and hearing care are also important. The League believes that under any system of health care reform, consumers/patients should be permitted to purchase services or insurance coverage beyond the basic level.
Equity Issues: The League believes that health care services should be more equitably distributed by: allocating medical resources to undeserved areas, providing for training health care professionals in needed fields of care, standardizing basic levels of service for publicly funded health care programs, requiring insurance plans to use community rating instead of experience rating and establishing insurance pools for small businesses and organizations.
Allocation of Resources to Individuals: The League believes that the ability of a patient to pay for services should not be the consideration in the allocation of health care resources. Limited resources should be allocated based on the following criteria considered together: the urgency of the medical condition, the life expectancy of the patient, the expected outcome of the treatment, the cost of the procedure, the duration of care, the wishes of the patient and family.
Behavioral Health which includes both mental illness and substance abuse is another area of great concern. The League supports access for all people to affordable, quality in-and-out patient behavioral health care, including needed medications and supportive services. Further, the LWV supports early and appropriate diagnosis and treatment for children and youth from early childhood throughout adolescents, early and appropriate diagnosis for children and adolescents that is family-focused and community based.
People with behavioral health challenges, including those who are chronically homeless need access to safe and stable housing. Effective re-entry planning and follow-up is needed for people released from both behavioral health hospitalization and the criminal justice system.
Health education from early childhood throughout life that integrates all aspects of social, emotional and physical health and wellness is essential.
The League of Women Voters, open to men as well as women, is a nonpartisan, multi-issue political organization which encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase public understanding of major policy issues and influences public policy through education and advocacy. For information about the League, visit the website: www.lwvmontco.org or send a message to LWV, PO Box 101, Crawfordsville, Ind. 47933.