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Green Party Committees: Platform




F. Health Care

Health care is a human right, not a privilege. The Green Party supports a wide range of health care services, not just traditional medicine that too often emphasizes high-tech intervention and surgical techniques.

  1. Medicare, which provides health care for over 40 million Americans, is at risk. We would vigorously pursue savings and cuts from abundant waste and fraud, eliminate unnecessary services that benefit providers more than patients, and rein in pharmaceutical industry price-gouging.

  2. 70% to 85% of illness in America is due to unmanaged stress. This means that national measures to reduce work hours, promote cyber-commuting for work, and increased vacation time for workers will significantly improve the public's health. We advocate access for all, irrelevant of income, to stress management training such as meditation techniques, yoga, tai chi, qigong, and biofeedback.

  3. A large percentage of illness is diet-related; therefore, improving the quality of our nation's food supply and our personal eating habits will lessen the strain on our health care system. We advocate subsidies for organic foods, as well as removing sugar/caffeine snacks from schools. This could save our nation as much as $700 to $850 billion of the $1 trillion annual health costs.

  4. We support the teaching of holistic health approaches and, as appropriate, the use of complementary and alternative therapies such as herbal medicines, homeopathy, acupuncture, and other healing approaches.

  5. We call for wider implementation of hospice care.

  6. We oppose the arrest, harassment or prosecution of anyone involved in any aspect of the production, cultivation, transportation, distribution or consumption of medicinal marijuana. We also oppose the harassment, prosecution or revocation of license of any health-care provider who gives a recommendation or prescription for medicinal marijuana.

  7. We support informed consent laws to educate consumers to potential health impact of types of treatment. For truly informed consent, a professional must explain the limitations of his or her professional training, and make the patient aware of what other professionals could offer differently or in addition.

  8. Primary care, through a renewed attention to family medicine as opposed to increased medical specialization, is necessary.

  9. We unequivocally support a woman's right to reproductive choice, no matter her marital status or age, and that contraception and safe, legal abortion procedures be available on demand and be included in all health insurance coverage in the U.S., as well as free of charge in any state where a woman falls below the poverty level. [See section A.1. Women's Rights in this chapter]

  10. Medical research must be increased, and alternative therapies actively sought, to combat diseases and eliminate their causes, especially cancer and HIV/AIDS.

  11. We call for competent social and health services for those who have special needs: the mentally ill, the handicapped, and those who are terminally ill.

  12. Public policy needs to move in the direction of a voluntary, community-based mental health system that safeguards human dignity, respects individual autonomy, and protects informed consent. A wide variety of humane, effective, and empowering alternative and complementary approaches should be available for anyone who experiences a psychiatric problem or mental disability.

1. Universal Health Care

The United States is the only industrialized nation in the world without a national health care system. The current system's high costs and widely recognized failures demand that bold steps be taken. The Green Party supports a universal, comprehensive, national single-payer health insurance program as the only solution to the current disastrous for-profit system.

Under a universal national single-payer health care system, the administrative waste of private insurance corporations would be redirected to patient care. If the U.S. were to shift to a system of universal coverage and a single payer plan, as in Canada, the savings in administrative costs would be more than enough to offset the cost. Expenses for businesses currently providing coverage would be reduced. State and local governments would pay less because they would receive reimbursement for services provided to the previously uninsured, and because public programs would cease to be the "dumping ground" for high-risk patients and those rejected by HMOs when they become disabled and unemployed.

Most importantly, the people of America will gain the peace of mind in knowing that needed health care will always be available to them. No longer will people have to worry about facing financial disaster if they become seriously ill, are laid off their jobs, or are injured in an accident.

The Green Party supports a universal, comprehensive, national single-payer health plan that will provide the following with no increase in cost:

  1. A publicly funded health care insurance program, administered at the state and local levels.

  2. Lifetime benefits for everyone. No one will lose coverage for any reason.

  3. Freedom to choose the type of health care provider, with a wide range of health care choices.

  4. Decision-making in the hands of health providers and their patients.

  5. Comprehensive benefits, as good or better than existing plans, including dental, vision, mental health care, hospice, long-term care, substance abuse treatment and medication coverage.

  6. Participation of all licensed and/or certified health providers, subject to standards of practice in their field.

  7. Portable health plan benefits.

  8. Primary and preventive care as priorities, including wellness education about diet, nutrition and exercise.

  9. Greatly reduced paperwork for both patients and providers.

  10. Fair and full reimbursement to providers for their services.

  11. Preservation of all health care services currently available.

  12. Cost controls via streamlined administration, national fee schedules, bulk purchases of drugs and medical equipment, and coordination of capital expenditures. Prices of medications must be publicly supervised.

  13. Hospitals that can afford safe staffing levels for registered nurses.

  14. Establishment of national, state, and local Health Policy Boards consisting of health consumers and providers to oversee and evaluate the performance of the system, expand access to care, and determine research priorities. All meetings of the boards shall be open to the public.

  15. Establishment of a National Health Trust Fund that would channel all current Federal payments for health care programs directly into the Fund, in addition to employees' health premium payments.