I will be eligible to vote for the first time this November in the midterm elections. You could say I’m excited, but that might be an understatement. Because of my upcoming eighteenth birthday, I have had to consider how policy aligns with my personal values. I had to determine why I am a Democrat.
In this time of self-reflection, I have decided that there are two issues I care most about: social justice and universal healthcare.
I have always identified as socially liberal. For me, reproductive rights, LGBTQ+ rights, etc. have always been a no-brainer. These views have been consistently represented in the Democratic platform. The platform announced at the 2016 Democratic National Convention included initiatives to end systemic racism, guarantee equal rights for LGBTQ+ citizens, and promote the Equal Rights Amendment, among many other ideas. For example, due to prevalent racism in the past, minorities were deprived of the same opportunities as whites. The Republican platform also emphasizes that the party includes a diversity of people, but it fails address the obvious discrimination ingrained in our country.
I believe that access to quality healthcare is a human right. (So does the World Health Organization.) Universal coverage is the best way to achieve this. The goal is that all people have access to affordable healthcare, provided by the government. The United States, under the Affordable Care Act, has gone halfway; the government requires that all people are insured, but the government does not provide all health services. Currently, there are millions of Americans who cannot afford healthcare. When people cannot pay health insurance, but still use health care, insurance costs rise for those who do pay. Healthcare paid for and provided by the government is more economically efficient for all people. Sure, taxes will increase, but they will increase for all. The United States should go further and adopt a single-payer system, where service providers are government-employed. This system, used in Canada and the UK, would allow people with treatable medical problems to get the help they need without worrying that they will be denied or fall into debt. It will uplift those who have been denied the right to health by a previously faulty system, creating a more equitable world. Universal healthcare is not 100% agreed upon by Democrats, but many at least support a more comprehensive healthcare system, compared to the Republican intention to repeal the ACA.
Because I believe in government action to achieve equality for all–to help the poor and defend the mistreated–I’m proud to say that I am a Democrat.