In 2020, Louisiana ranked 45th in Healthcare. Contributing to this low ranking is the lack of public health funding, the lack of access to care, the high number of uninsured, and the poor overall quality of care.
Gary believes that Louisianans’ health is the foundation of a better Louisiana.
The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic illustrated what Black Americans already knew– that the American healthcare system is woefully inadequate. Leaders around the world, on the continent of Africa and in countries such as Japan, quickly adopted public health measures to save thousands, if not millions of lives. Though COVID-19 is a new crisis, the health disparities highlighted by it is nothing new for Black Louisiana.
Currently, Louisiana ranks 45th out of 50th for healthcare, 50th in healthcare challenges, 47th in clinical care, and 48th in health outcomes. Louisiana has a 36.8% obesity rate, 14% diabetes rate, and ranks 50th amongst all states in healthcare challenges. Driving that number is the health disparities that exist between Black and white Louisianans. We must do better! Black Lives depend upon it, and Gary is committed to addressing these disparities to ensure a healthier Louisiana.
Notably, health disparities also exist in maternal health. So, where do we go from here? A healthier Louisiana or continue along this chaotic path? To get us from the figurative bottom of the map, health inequalities must be addressed, because when we take care of the least of us, we take care of us all!
Gary uses the quote, “In God we trust but everybody else must bring data.” Why? Because the data tells us that to address the inequalities in the current healthcare system, a community-based health care model must be adopted.
Gary is committed to advocating for and passing legislation for the following priorities:
1. Medicare for All
A single-payer healthcare system, also known as Medicare for all.
2. Advocating for and voting for a COVID-19 relief bill
The nation is in the middle of a pandemic and the role of government is to provide for the health, safety and welfare of its people. Gary will advocate for and vote to pass a full COVID-19 relief bill that does the following:
- Issue a one-time direct payment of $2,000 minimum to all eligible persons living in
the United States and in neighboring U.S. territories;
- Some studies suggest that up to 40% of Black businesses have closed
permanently since March of 2020. Gary will advocate for and vote to pass
legislation to increase funding for the Payroll Protection Program, with an
emphasis on Black and minority-owned small businesses.
- Increased funding for research and data collection. Which will include racial
and ethnic data related to COVID-19, such as deaths related to the pandemic,
and data on what populations are receiving the vaccine.
3. Community-based health centers
Advocating for and finding federal dollars to erect and fund community-based health centers in underserved Louisiana communities. Gary believes that health care must be accessible to all Louisianans. Health care access includes but is not limited to: mental health access and affordable prescription drugs.
Gary is committed to ensuring not only funding for the centers but also for community-based health initiatives that recognize that:
- Racism in medicine/the healthcare industry is a leading cause of health disparities;
- The initiatives and interventions related to the initiatives must be developed by the racial and ethnic groups/population experiencing the health disparity; and
- The research conducted with the federal funds must be done by or in partnership with community members while providing just compensation for those community members.
4. Maternal and infant health
The maternal and infant health of Black families is a major concern to Gary. Louisiana’s maternal mortality rate for Black women is 72.6 for every 100,000 births. This is unacceptable! Gary will consult with culturally competent experts to advise him on how to best address this health care crisis.