All of us have stories to tell about taking care of our loved ones. For some, we have to make life-changing decisions. In 2008, I moved back home to take care of my mom. I gave up my career because my mom needed me. My mom was lucky. She had her family to help. Others are not so fortunate. In 2017, the Montana legislature closed 19 Offices of Public Assistance, of which 18 were in Eastern Montana. By early 2018, the Office of Public Assistance in Billings was receiving over 1,000 calls a day from folks in Eastern Montana needing help with basic services and living expenses. Montana, along with other parts of the United States, has experienced an increase in what is known as "Cost-Burdened Households" which are households that pay more than 40% of the monthly income for shelter. Cost-Burdened households often have to scramble to pay for food, utilities, transportation, healthcare, childcare, and more. This stress can lead to mental illness, substance abuse, homelessness, and crime. Healthcare costs, in particular, are quickly overwhelming our resources, especially for the elderly who rely on Social Security and whatever savings they may have. Skilled nursing facilities cost into the tens of thousands of dollars per month! In regard to prescription drugs, families and individuals of all ages struggle with this cost. Let's look at one example: the prescription drug Insulin. In 2018, the average price of a single dose of Insulin in the US was $98.70. In Canada, this same dose was $12! It's no wonder that families, like mine, have been forced to have difficult conversations about receiving quality healthcare for our senior citizens. It's no wonder that some family members have had to withdraw from the workforce in order to take care of their parents or some family members have had to live in separate states in order to earn enough money to pay for life-saving prescription drugs for their children. And Insulin is only one of many other similar life-saving prescription medicines whose costs have spiraled out of control. Quality healthcare in America should be available to everyone at affordable prices. As we have seen with housing, rising health care costs have not been met with equally rising wages. As a US Congresswoman from Montana, I will work with representatives of other states to stand up for the needs of Montanans by making sure our voices are heard. What We Can Do - Increase competition of services - Reduce high administrative costs associated with healthcare - Increase healthcare providers in the workforce - Increase residency programs throughout the U.S. - Develop and incentivize rural healthcare - Increase access to high-speed broadband throughout rural communities - Increase wellness programs to prevent the onset of disease - Regulate to end surprise billing and require transparency of costs - Allow the federal government to negotiate prescription drug prices - Establish fair pricing for prescription drugs - Establish home healthcare benefits - Increase and fund mental health services Source: 7/25/2022


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