"A wise man should consider that health is the greatest of human blessings . . ."
Healthcare is personal to me.
As a biochemist and as a combat medic in the US Army, I understand how important access to healing is. I had the honor to care for my brothers and sisters in arms in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and it gave me a deeper appreciation for our healthcare here.
As a son who lost his mother to cancer this year, I understand how critical it is to provide proper care in the right time to our parents, our children, and our friends.
As an American living through COVID, I understand more than ever that health is the "greatest of human blessings."
And I believe that our doctors, nurses, and other health professionals are valuable, dedicated heroes.
But our state healthcare policy limits the healthcare available to our community.
In 2016, our legislature could have extended healthcare coverage to our hardworking friends and neighbors who don't have big salaries, our single parents making minimum wage, and our grandparents living on fixed incomes.
But our SC House and Senate chose not to respect the most important family value - healthy parents, caregivers, and children -- in 2016.
Today, half a millionof our fellow South Carolinians are living without health insurance. We have seen the hospitals and health systems try to meet their needs in the emergency department, but the ER should be reserved for emergencies, not the common cold for someone who works part-time.
We have seen how COVID has impacted our healthcare workforce and how the disease has spread to people with insurance and without it. A pandemic shouldn't bankrupt anyone.
Ensuring that we all have access to affordable healthcare is a way to honor our family values and respect our elders. My mother was two years away from obtaining Medicare when she passed away this summer. I watched her work hard her entire life here in the US, but cancer came before her coverage did. I have to wonder what would have happened if she could have received the right kinds of screenings and treatments at the right time.
I miss her everyday, and don't want any of my constituents in District 6 to miss their own mothers too soon.