MAYORS’ VISION FOR AMERICA: A 2020 CALL TO ACTION

Guarantee Access to Affordable Quality Healthcare and Critical Human Services

Mayors recognize that a strong federal, state and local partnership is necessary to ensure that everyone has the services they need to live healthy and productive lives. Mayors also share a responsibility for the health, social welfare and well-being of our communities, which includes ensuring access for all to affordable health care and comprehensive human services; robust and coordinated systems of care; walkable/bikeable neighborhoods; easy access to public transit and open space; safe and stable housing; protection from emerging public health threats; and access to affordable, healthy foods.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) decreased the number of uninsured, expanded health care coverage, and ended barriers to treatment for millions of residents in our cities. Additionally, ACA reduced medical gaps in coverage to ensure that essential health services like emergency, rehabilitative, pediatric, maternal and newborn care, lab, prevention and wellness, and mental health and substance use disorder benefits are protected.

Because these services and many others are of critical importance to our residents, mayors call on the President and Congress to:

  • Strengthen local and federal partnerships by investing in public health and prevention programs, and support research, evaluation and tracking of key health measures.
  • Ensure that any future health care proposal reduces long-term growth of healthcare costs for individuals, businesses, and government; protect families from bankruptcy or debt driven by health care costs; and guarantees choice of doctors and health plans.
  • Invest in prevention and wellness; improve patient safety, quality, affordability of care; assure affordable, quality health coverage for all Americans; include comprehensive mental health and substance use disorder treatment options; maintain coverage when someone changes
    or loses a job; and continue to reduce barriers to coverage for people with pre-existing medical conditions.
  • Explore options to get additional funding directly to local government through changes in eligibility requirements of existing programs and/or create dedicated funding for local governments to address mental health and substance use disorders in our communities – to help more people find recovery and save lives.
  • Expand support for child care and early childhood development.
  • Combat the growing youth vaping epidemic by supporting federal, state and local anti-tobacco initiatives; and establish 21 as the legal age for the sale of tobacco products nationwide.
  • Evaluate pricing for prescription drugs based on their effectiveness and treatment outcomes; enact measures to prevent companies from using price gouging to increase profits; and include clear enforcement mechanisms to protect the American consumer.

While obesity and diet-related chronic disease also remain a growing epidemic, they are largely preventable. Today, more than one in three children and adolescents, as well as two-thirds of adults, are overweight or obese. Healthy food and food insecurity have been established as important considerations for local governments as they are fundamentally linked to issues such as health, equity, environmental sustainability and economic development.

Federal nutrition and emergency assistance programs offer a vital safety net, while other important programs are increasing access to healthy foods, stimulating new economic activity, creating links between cities and rural communities, and ensuring environmental stewardship.

Thus, mayors call on the President and Congress to:

  • Sustain a comprehensive national food policy that feeds the hungry, supports small farmers in urban and rural areas, and promotes access to healthy and affordable food for all residents. This includes strengthening incentives and infrastructure for local food production and distribution as well as environmentally sustainable farming practices. It also includes providing better access to fresh foods, investment in programs providing healthy food, expansion of programs that help communities invest in retail markets or food-based businesses, increased access to farmers’ markets, and expansion of farm-to-cafeteria programs that bring the freshest locally-grown food into school lunch programs, hospitals, and other institutions.
  • Reauthorize the Child Nutrition Act, WIC and Older Americans Act.
  • Strengthen the food safety-net by maintaining current benefit levels for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
  • Support and strengthen local and regional food system infrastructure to ensure access to healthy and affordable food.

MAYORS’ VISION FOR AMERICA: A 2020 Call to Action

Focused on: Infrastructure, Innovation, & Inclusion