Our Plan for Health Care

As your City Council Member, I will fight alongside the residents of District 11 to ensure that all New Yorkers can live, work, play, and worship in neighborhoods that support their physical, mental, and emotional health:
  • Reduce unnecessary hospitalizations and the high burden of chronic disease in District 11 by addressing the social and environmental factors underlying them.
  • Ensure that everyone has access to patient-centered, coordinated, high quality health care.
  • Address the racial disparities in maternal health.

Read more below...

The Issues:

Working at a community health clinic in the central Bronx, I saw on a daily basis the impact of the health disparities in communities of color and low income communities. Poor health impacts all facets of one’s life, from the ability to learn in school, to the ability to function in a job. We know that poverty, environmental pollutants and adverse childhood experiences lead to higher rates of heart disease, cancer, substance abuse and diabetes in adulthood. Addressing the roots of what leads to poor health is an essential part of rebuilding a just and equitable New York City. 

 

The COVID-19 pandemic and our city’s economic crisis have dealt a crushing blow to The Bronx, particularly for communities of color. During the first wave of the pandemic, more Bronx residents were hospitalized or died than in any other borough, with Black and Brown communities bearing the brunt of this tragedy. Since March, food pantry lines have stretched around the block, tenants are being evicted, while thousands go without critical care.

 

But these are not new problems. Why do Bronx health outcomes rank dead last among New York’s 62 counties? Because for decades, our residents’ health and well-being have suffered due to lack of access to healthy food; good housing; clean air; well-paid jobs; educational opportunities; and quality, affordable health care. Underlying these challenges is a system of racism and disinvestment in our communities that has continued through this current crisis. If anything, COVID has shone a bright, unforgiving light on the disparities our residents faced long before it arrived. 

 

Additionally, maternal mortality is a growing crisis nationwide with abysmal rates for women of color. In New York State, Black women are almost 4 times more likely to die in childbirth than white women. Things are even more dire in New York City where, from 2006 to 2010, Black women were 12 times more likely than white women to die from pregnancy-related causes. This disparity cannot be allowed to continue and must be addressed. 

Our Solutions:

Health care is a human right.

 

As your City Council Member, I will fight alongside the residents of District 11 to ensure that all New Yorkers can live, work, play, and worship in neighborhoods that support their physical, mental, and emotional health.

 

This will require a laser focus on the root causes of racial health disparities AND fixing our unequal and inadequate health care system. In partnership with residents, community groups, health providers, small businesses, and faith organizations, we will advance policies to ensure that the Bronx is #Not62, but instead has the social and economic conditions to promote everyone’s health and well-being.

 

Reduce unnecessary hospitalizations and the high burden of chronic disease in District 11 by addressing the social and environmental factors underlying them, specifically:

 

  • Invest in equitable access to affordable, nutritious, culturally relevant food.

  • Develop safe and affordable housing.

  • Create safe, well-paying jobs.

  • Fight climate change and safeguard clean air and water.

Ensure that everyone has access to patient-centered, coordinated, high quality health care:

 

  • Advocate for passage of the New York Health Act, to ensure that all New Yorkers have truly universal, comprehensive, and affordable health care.

  • Help consumers navigate New York’s health care system and providing oversight of the hospital industry by supporting Council Member Rivera’s bill to establish an Office of the Patient Advocate. 

  • Ensure that our city's nonprofit hospitals, which receive hundreds of millions of dollars in property tax exemptions, provide their fair share of care for uninsured and under-insured New Yorkers.

  • Build on the success of NYC Cares program, ensuring that all New Yorkers have primary and preventive care by expanding the program beyond Health + Hospitals to include other community-based providers, ensuring culturally appropriate outreach, and integrating primary care and behavioral health services.

  • Adequately fund mental health services and expanding access to mental healthcare. 

Address the racial disparities in maternal health:

 

  • Championing doula programs in New York City.

  • Ensure that doulas or other patient advocates can be present at in-person prenatal visits and delivery rooms.

  • Push for more accurate data and more transparency in reporting on maternal mortality and complications. Hospitals should be required to report all maternal deaths as well as major birth complications with breakdowns by race.

Abigail Martin for City Council

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