Health care is a universal human right. Everyone in Brooklyn, regardless of their age, race, gender, employment, citizenship, or socioeconomic status, should receive equitable, comprehensive health care and protection from any threats to human health, without financial barriers or hardship. Yet, our communities are in trauma and health inequities between different groups persist due to insufficient physical and mental health services, legislative restrictions on reproductive freedom, high costs of drugs and health care services, systemic racism, disproportionately high rates of maternal mortality for people of color, and environmental threats, among other causes.
The current market-based, tiered health care system is inherently inequitable, encourages discrimination, and is a critical barrier to dramatic reductions in death and disease, putting New Yorkers at risk.
Local governments must address the inadequacies and inequities of our current health care system with solutions grounded in transparency of distribution and pricing, accountability of elected officials to protect the health of the people they represent, and equitable provision of essential health services, especially for marginalized New Yorkers. New Kings Democrats (NKD) recognizes that equitable health care and outcomes are a basic matter of social justice and essential to a functioning democracy and therefore advocates for creation and implementation of a sustainable, publicly-funded, single-payer health care system that provides affordable, comprehensive, high-quality, universal health care for all New Yorkers.
NKD will ask all candidates seeking its support for elective office for commitments to fight for better affordable health care services and measurable equitable health outcomes for all city residents.
- Include at least one question on health equity issues in every candidate questionnaire.
- Request that every candidate seeking NKD’s endorsement for elective office define their position on abortion rights and restrictions, as well as on gender-affirming health care.
- Support candidates that prioritize policies to eliminate disparities in health care.
- Ask candidates about health equity issues during the endorsement interview, with the expectation that candidates have an understanding of the disparities that exist in the health care system, and that they know about the specifics of the health issues impacting the community they seek to represent.
- Include health issues in every candidate forum that NKD organizes
- Encourage the Kings County Democratic Party to actively promote policies to improve community health effectively and equitably, and to oppose community developments or policies that could cause negative health outcomes.
More broadly, NKD will support health policies and legislation that:
- Provide comprehensive health care for every New Yorker.
- Codify abortion and reproductive health care rights and remove restrictions.
- Reduce the financial costs of drugs and health care services for patients.
- Promote sex education efforts for younger New Yorkers.
- Are based in adequate study of the health impact on local communities, including potential externalities like asthma, depression, and heat islands.
- Create transparency and accountability to local communities for health issues related to land use decisions.
- Empower mothers of color with support and resources to receive prenatal and postnatal care.
- Provide gender-affirming care and remove restrictions that impede LGBTQIA2S+ persons’ access to health services.
- Increase funding of mental health / substance abuse services and harm reduction strategies. NKD supports policies in furtherance of the New York State Democratic Committee’s 2023 resolution calling for the inclusion of mental health and substance abuse treatments in all public health care services and requiring the same level of public “care and concern and resources” as any other medical ailments or diseases.
- Restrict the availability of guns in our community and support gun safety initiatives (e.g. safe storage).
- Provide better health care services and management in shelters, with special attention to the needs of unhoused and undocumented persons.
- Improve working conditions for health care workers (e.g. staff-to-patient ratios, higher pay, reasonable hours, enforced workplace safety rules), as this will lead to better health outcomes for patients.
Our elected leaders must do more to improve public health standards and services. NKD expects candidates for office to understand the disparities that exist in modern health care and be able to articulate solutions. Laws and policy proposals should be evaluated based on their health impact on local Brooklyn communities. The social, economic, and racial challenges of Kings County are tied closely to health outcomes and underrepresented communities must be at the forefront of policy and legislation.