Allow all veterans back into the Veterans Administration
As one of his "first acts" as president, Obama will sign an executive order "ending the unfair ban on healthcare enrollment of certain groups of veterans, including 'Priority 8' veterans who often earn modest incomes." Currently, veterans who have no service-connected disability and make above a certain amount of income are not allowed to enroll in the VA health program.
Make the Veterans Administration a national leader in health reform
"Make the VA a leader of national health care reform. … This includes efforts to improve electronic records interoperability, expand effectiveness research, promote wellness programs, and instill more accountability for performance and quality improvement initiatives."
Expand the Veterans Administration's number of "centers of excellence" in specialty care
Expand the number of "centers of excellence for Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), PTSD, vision impairment, prosthetics, spinal cord injury, aging, women's health and other specialized rehabilitative care."
Reduce the Veterans Benefits Administration claims backlog
"There are currently over 400,000 claims pending within the Veterans Benefits Administration, and over 800,000 claims receipts are expected in 2008 alone. … Obama will hire additional claims workers and convene our nation's leading veterans groups, employees and managers to develop an updated training and management model that will ensure that VA benefit decisions are rated fairly and consistently, and stem from adequate training and accountability for each claims adjudicator."
Institute electronic record-keeping for the Veterans Benefits Administration
"As president, Obama will transform the paper benefit claims process to an electronic system that will be interoperable with the VA's health network as well as military records. This will reduce error rates, improve timeliness, and enhance the overall quality of the claims decisions."
With the G-8, launch Health Infrastructure 2020
"Barack Obama and Joe Biden will take the lead at the G-8, working with and leveraging the engagement of the private sector and private philanthropy, to launch Health Infrastructure 2020 – a global effort to work with developing countries to invest in the full range of infrastructure needed to improve and protect both American and global health."
Expand the Nurse-Family Partnership to all low-income, first-time mothers
"Barack Obama and Joe Biden will expand the highly-successful Nurse-Family Partnership to all low-income, first-time mothers. The Nurse-Family Partnership provides home visits by trained registered nurses to low-income expectant mothers and their families. The trained nurses use proven methods to help improve the mental and physical health of the family by providing counseling on substance abuse, creating and achieving personal goals, and effective methods of nurturing children."
Rebuild hospitals in New Orleans
"Will rebuild broken facilities and provide incentives, such as loan forgiveness, to lure medical professionals back to the region. They will fight to establish a major medical complex in downtown New Orleans that will serve the entire community. They will also push to quickly build a new, state-of-the-art Department of Veterans Affairs hospital in New Orleans so that the city's veterans can get top-quality care."
Accelerate the development of new medicines, vaccines, and production capabilities
"Will build on America's unparalleled talent to create new drugs, vaccines, and diagnostic tests and to manufacture these vital products much more quickly and efficiently than is now possible."
Advance the biomedical research field
"Will strengthen funding for biomedical research, and better improve the efficiency of that research by improving coordination both within government and across government/private/non-profit partnerships. An Obama administration will ensure that we translate scientific progress into improved approaches to disease prevention, early detection and therapy that is available for all Americans."
Increase efforts to reduce unintended pregnancy
"Obama will work to reduce unintended pregnancy by guaranteeing equity in contraceptive coverage, providing sex education and offering rape victims accurate information about emergency contraception."
Attract more doctors to rural areas
Obama will "attract more doctors to rural areas."
Send first-time nonviolent drug offenders to rehab if appropriate
"We will give first-time, nonviolent drug offenders a chance to serve their sentence, where appropriate, in the type of drug-rehabilitation programs that have proven to work better than a prison term in changing bad behavior."
Sign a "universal" health care bill
"I will sign a universal health care bill into law by the end of my first term as president ... ."
Reverse restrictions on stem cell research
"I believe that the restrictions that President Bush has placed on funding of human embryonic stem cell research have handcuffed our scientists and hindered our ability to compete with other nations. As president, I will lift the current administration’s ban on federal funding of research on embryonic stem cell lines created after August 9, 2001 through executive order ... .."
Ensure that stem cell research is conducted ethically and with vigorous oversight
"I believe that the restrictions that President Bush has placed on funding of human embryonic stem cell research have handcuffed our scientists and hindered our ability to compete with other nations. As president ... I will ensure that all research on stem cells is conducted ethically and with rigorous oversight."
Negotiate health care reform in public sessions televised on C-SPAN
To achieve health care reform, "I'm going to have all the negotiations around a big table. We'll have doctors and nurses and hospital administrators. Insurance companies, drug companies -- they'll get a seat at the table, they just won't be able to buy every chair. But what we will do is, we'll have the negotiations televised on C-SPAN, so that people can see who is making arguments on behalf of their constituents, and who are making arguments on behalf of the drug companies or the insurance companies. And so, that approach, I think is what is going to allow people to stay involved in this process."
Create a public option health plan for a new National Health Insurance Exchange.
"The exchange will require that all the plans offered are at least as generous as the new public plan and meet the same standards for quality and efficiency."
Reproductive health care will be "at the heart" of health care reform.
"In my mind, reproductive care is essential care. It is basic care, so it is at the center and at the heart of the plan that I propose. Essentially what we're doing is, we’re going to set up a public plan that all persons and all women can access if they don’t have health insurance. It will be a plan that will provide all essential services, including reproductive services, as well as mental health services and disease management services, because part of our interest is to make sure that we’re putting more money into preventive care."
If you don't have insurance, or don't like the insurance you have, you'll be able to choose a new plan on a health insurance exchange
"If you don't have insurance, or don't like your insurance, you'll be able to choose from the same type of quality private plans as every federal employee - from a postal worker here in Colorado to a congressman in Washington. All of these plans will cover essential medical services including prevention, maternity, disease management and mental health care. No one will be turned away because of a pre-existing condition or illness."
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