Public Health 

Issue

 

First among the inalienable rights affirmed by our founders is life itself. The COVID-19 pandemic has threatened and continues to take the lives of American citizens due to the inadequacy of the federal public health response. More than six million cases have been confirmed in the U.S., the highest case count in the world; nearly 200K Americans have died. More than 3,600 more Americans died of COVID-19 during the four days of the GOP Convention in August, which is more than died on 9/11 or at Pearl Harbor.  And that’s just official fatalities, with “excess deaths” data at least doubling those numbers.  The sooner Congress mounts a comprehensive national mitigation and testing program, the more thousands of lives we might save.

The COVID-19 pandemic is far from the only health threat faced by Americans, but it has shone a spotlight on significant racial, ethnic, and socio-economic disparities in exposures, risks, health services and health outcomes. In fact, Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) like poverty, poor quality education, food insecurity, unstable housing, pollution, toxic stress and violence, unequal healthcare access, and racism are known to contribute to health outcomes more significantly than biology and genetics combined. Achieving health equity is a moral imperative for our nation.

 

 

Background

The U.S. Public Health system holds the mandate to confront global disease, control infectious threats, mitigate other threats to health and to coordinate access to healthcare for the American populace. Largely due to understandings provided by science (e.g. bacteriology and virology), the public health service was formed around 1912 to coordinate public responses to pandemics. Now we are under an administration that ignores science and politicizes responses and guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) forcing local municipalities to implement their own policies regarding testing, isolation, quarantine.


COVID-19 Impact

  • Nearly 200K Americans have died during the COVID-19 pandemic. Left unchecked, the number is projected to rise to 300K by the end of the year.

 

  • Georgia has had one of the highest number of cases in the nation, now over 252K. Cases have increased substantially since early July.

 

 

  • The unequal impact uncovers the vulnerabilities wrought by unequal, heightened exposures facing so-called “frontline workers,” deficits of protections accompanying economic disadvantage and more limited access to quality healthcare, as well as the underlying, disparate, burden and risks of chronic disease.

 

  • African Americans, Native Peoples, and Latinos have shouldered a disproportionate burden of cases and deaths.   Nationwide, Blacks appear to be dying at rates 2-3 x those of Whites.

Other Health Disparities

  • Georgia ranks 39th in the nation according to the 2018 Annual Health Rankings and Scores in overall health outcomes.

 

  • In the past six years, obesity increased by 3% from 28.0% to 31.6% of adults.

 

  • Since 2012, cancer deaths increased by 3% from 190.5 to 195.5 deaths/100K population.

 

  • In the past four years, premature deaths increased 10% from 7,624 to 8,391 lost before age 75, per 100,000 population.

 

  • Georgia has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the country; it is estimated that 60% of these pregnancy-related deaths were preventable.

 

  • In Georgia, non-Hispanic black women die at rates 3.3 times those of non-Hispanic White women.

 

  • Fulton County is ranked 6th highest among U.S. counties for new HIV diagnoses. The rate of new infections in Atlanta is twice that for Georgia as a whole.

Policy Proposition and Implementation

  • We must follow medical science, backed by full federal funding and the force of law, to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead of continuing to ignore the persistent inequities of American healthcare, we must face these challenges and resolve their underlying causes.

 

  • We must mount a federally coordinated, data-driven, nationwide response to check the COVID-19 pandemic, save lives, and get America back to work safe and sound. We expect accurate information and we oppose the politicizing of public health agencies that are supported by tax dollars.

 

  • We must exercise our personal agency and power by undertaking proven preventive practices such as a universal masking to fight COVID-19. FDA should be able to put in place protections and assure safety and effectiveness of therapies and vaccines without political pressure to subvert usual and customary controls.

 

  • We support Medicaid expansion in Georgia and the extension of comprehensive coverage for post-partum care for the full year after childbirth.  We will advocate to protect and improve the Affordable Care Act.

Going forward we will broaden and deepen our conversations about public health from access to healthcare and insurance to achieving and maintaining health equity, with a clear understanding of the social determinants of health.  And we will mobilize all the institutions in our community—faith, business, government, and social organizations-- to promote physical, mental, and spiritual health.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • YouTube

Franklin for Congress, Inc. 

P.O. Box 110274

Atlanta, Georgia 30311

404-552-4639

franklin2congress@att.net

#FranklinForTheFifth

- Georgia’s Fifth Congressional District -

Paid for by Franklin for Congress, Inc.

© 2020 Franklin for Congress.