Nearly two decades of nursing has opened my eyes to the inequities and inefficiencies of healthcare in America. In Montana, we struggle with rural healthcare, and even in urban areas, we need to ensure adequate access and support for the entities providing those services.
Inadequate access and lack of preventative care balloons costs. We all pay those costs--in prescriptions, healthcare coverage, service bills, you name it.
For example, providing a well-child vaccination through CHIP may feel expensive. However it's much less than the cost of the child getting that illness--in hospital bills, follow-up care, parents missing work, and businesses losing productivity. One child with that illness could cost more than immunizing all the children in that area. We can pay a little early, or a lot later...
We can do better. Healthcare should be affordable and accessible. It's a tragedy and a systemic failure that the number one cause of bankruptcy are medical bills.
Public education is a collective responsibility. At all levels, public education provides necessary skills for Montanans to succeed, pursue happiness, and interact globally. STEM programming continues to require attention, but the Arts and Humanities are also essential components.
University education was seen, even in the time of the Civil War, to be a necessity for the children of the nation's workers. The Morrill Land-Grant Acts of 1862 and 1890was established early in our nation's history to ensure the provision of this service to the people. I am proudly an employee of one of these Land-Grant Universities, and see people of all ages and backgrounds achieving more and providing more for their families by having access to this service.
One of my daughters is a fourth-grade teacher at the first elementary school she attended in Great Falls. A notably low-income area, she benefited greatly from her education there, and has returned to pay it forward and make a positive impact in our community.
Labor is the backbone of America, yet we are seeing constant changes in technology that affect workers and limit their economic mobility. Parents working two or three jobs, and still needing assistance should not be the norm. We need livable wages for workers, not just profits to shareholders and bonuses to CEOs.
As we see a new generation of workers who have not known market security, we will need to be prepared for the changes that will come in the labor force.
Advocating for workers strengthens families and promotes accountability for large corporations.
Public lands should be public. This means reasonable access, and the assurance that these natural treasures will be available to future generations.
In a state of hunters, fishers, and outdoor enthusiasts, access is a priority issue. Why else would we live in Montana?
It is indeed, the land and the people we love!
We love walking on public lands.
Access is happiness!