Mazie believes that health care is a right – not a privilege – and knows firsthand how much access to quality, affordable health care means to Hawaii’s families. Growing up, her family didn’t have health insurance until her mom was able to find a job that provided it. Her biggest fear was that her mom, the family’s sole breadwinner, would get sick – and getting sick meant no pay. Running low on money for food and rent at the end of the month was not uncommon.
Beyond her experiences growing up, Mazie understands personally that we are all only one diagnosis away from a major illness. In 2017, after a routine physical before eye surgery, her doctors discovered an abnormality on her chest x-ray. This was later diagnosed as kidney cancer. Because she had health insurance, Mazie was able to receive the care she needed without worrying if she would be able to afford it.
Mazie believes we should all have accessible and affordable health care. No family should be faced with financial ruin when they are battling a major illness. For this reason, Mazie is a co-sponsor of Senator Bernie Sanders’ (D-VT) Medicare For All Act to create a universal, single-payer health care system for everyone in our country.
While we work to provide health care for all as a right and not a privilege, Mazie will continue to fight to expand access to quality, affordable health care – including fighting to restore Medicaid eligibility for Compact of Free Association (COFA) citizens. As a member of the U.S. House, she worked to pass the Affordable Care Act while helping preserve Hawaii’s Prepaid Health Care law, which has contributed to Hawaii having one of the highest rates of insurance coverage in the nation. She will continue to fight to expand Medicaid, defend the Children’s Health Insurance Program, protect Medicare, and fund community health centers. To further help seniors with skyrocketing costs, she is a co-sponsor of legislation to help bring down prescription drug prices by allowing Medicare to negotiate directly with drug companies.
Mazie has been a passionate advocate for those health- and health care-related challenges that are unique to Hawaii, like ensuring federal funding for Hansen’s disease patients and protecting funding for Native Hawaiian health programs.
Throughout her time in public service, Mazie has been a proponent of robust reproductive and maternal health care; fair contraceptive coverage; and safe, legal abortion options for women. While she recognizes there are deeply held beliefs on both sides of the issue, she believes that a woman’s right to choose is a fundamental, constitutionally-protected right that she will continue to fight to preserve.
Health insurance is only one piece of our health care puzzle. Mazie has been an advocate for resources to expand and promote Hawaii’s health care workforce so that we have the quality doctors and nurses our communities need. She has successfully fought to improve access to services for Hawaii’s veterans by securing leases for new clinics across the state. She has also been a strong advocate for providing stable, robust federal funding for biomedical research.