A leading progressive voice on health care, Joe believes universal, high-quality, affordable health care is a basic human right, not a privilege. He is a proud co-sponsor of Medicare for All because he believes it is the strongest roadmap to an equitable system where every American has access to the care they need, when they need it. He worked hard with his colleagues in Congress to ensure the legislation included iron-clad protections for women’s health and critical coverage for long-term care for older adults and people with disabilities.
Long before COVID-19 exposed deep racial health care inequities, Joe led efforts to root out racism and prejudice woven throughout our health care system. He has tirelessly fought discrimination against transgender patients, patients with pre-existing conditions, and patients seeking access to mental health and addiction care. He is a founding member of the Black Maternal Health Caucus and author of the Moms MATTER Act to expand access to behavioral health care for new moms, specifically moms of color.
As we work to transition to a single-payer system, Joe advocates for policies to make health care more affordable and accessible immediately, like increased funding for community health centers, substance use treatment centers, and expanding Medicaid coverage. He is proud to have passed legislation to close loopholes exploited by pharmaceutical companies at the expense of patients, and supports policies to lower drug prices and hold pharmaceutical companies accountable.
Joe has made expanding access to mental and behavioral health care a centerpiece of his work in Congress. He has unveiled policies to achieve universal mental health care in this country. He has led legislative efforts to strengthen mental health parity, increase reimbursement rates for providers, enhance transparency in behavioral health coverage, guarantee mental health coverage for kids in the CHIP program, and address inequities in addiction and substance use disorder treatment. He is a champion for increased access to Medicaid, the largest single payer of mental and behavioral health care in the country.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Joe made the decision to temporarily suspend his campaign to dedicate his time, energy, and campaign resources to urgent crisis response needs. He used his campaign platforms daily to ensure the public was informed about the latest developments in the virus and our government’s response, and used his email list to raise over $100,000 for local organizations meeting critical community needs like the Chelsea Collaborative. From personally making phone calls to track down PPE to standing on the picket line with essential workers denied adequate protection, Joe has dedicated his time at home in Massachusetts to ensuring that our Commonwealth has adequate testing, hospital capacity, and PPE for frontline workers, all while fighting for legislative reforms in Washington to ensure our government is meeting the needs of our people.
Recognizing the fundamental flaws of a health care system that ties coverage to employment, he worked with Progressive Caucus Chair Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal to introduce the Medicare Crisis Program Act to guarantee access to care for unemployed people. He’s fought for an Essential Workers Bill of Rights to protect the health and safety of frontline caregivers, which would include guaranteed safety precautions, robust compensation, universal paid sick leave and family and medical leave, health care security, and support for child care. He voted for $200 billion in hazard pay for essential workers and authored the COVID-19 Worker Benefits Program, which would cover economic losses for workers and provide death benefits for the families of workers who have died. And he has demanded that the Administration develop a vaccine development and distribution strategy that ensures equity for the most vulnerable communities.
Joe is committed to seeing through a long-term recovery that addresses our acute health care crisis and ensures that our country is never caught unprepared for future health crises again. He has introduced a Jobs & Justice Initiative, a national economic mobilization and federal hiring program to meet these needs, while intentionally leveling structural inequities throughout our economy, our health care system, and our entire government that systemically disadvantage communities of color.