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California State Government June 6, 2006 Election
Smart Voter


By Deborah V. Ortiz

Candidate for Secretary of State; Democratic Party

This information is provided by the candidate
Senator Deborah Ortiz has based her health policy position upon three principal themes: 1) Access to health care; 2)Improving our public health system and; 3)the advancement of medical science and research.
Senator Deborah Ortiz has based her health policy position upon three principal themes. She is determined to improve access to direct and primary health care; she is committed to improving the public's medical status through population based and public health services; and she is the legislature's strongest supporter of the advancement of medical science and research. Her health policy perspective is influenced by both the Senator's personal experience and her analysis of California's health delivery system.

Senator Ortiz grew up in a working class family without health insurance. This experience provided the Senator particular insight into the pernicious failure of California's insurance system to cover low-income working families. It is well known that more than a quarter of working Californians have no health coverage. This structural system failure causes both serious repercussions throughout the health delivery system and avoidable injury to thousands of Californians. For many of Senator Ortiz's constituents, for the state's working class residents and for millions of Latino families, the lack of health insurance is a critical factor in their lives.

Deborah Ortiz is determined to both improve the efficiency and functioning of the public health insurance programs and to expand coverage of these public programs. She has authored legislation to simplify existing public health insurance programs by eliminating administrative barriers to establishing eligibility, to expand coverage to working families and increase access to health care services for current enrollees of public programs. Specifically, Senator Oritiz's legislation proposed to eliminate the assets test, and require verification of application information only to the extent it is federally required, expand access to dental services and encourage modernization of departmental practices for greater efficiency. Senator Ortiz also proposed innovative legislation to prevent the exploitation of the uninsured by medical providers and to increase access to primary care.

Each year she has been in the Legislature, Deborah Ortiz has authored measures intended to advance and improve California's public health services. The Senator has long recognized that genuine improvement in the medical status of all Californians is far less dependent on direct medical treatment than on effective public health services and capacity. The greatest advances in health have resulted from the availability of pure food and water, a safe environment, inoculation against communicable diseases, and the capacity of public health systems. Emerging diseases such as HIV, encephalitis, hantivirous, E.Coli, the re-emergence of tuberculoses, and outbreaks of new strains of bacteria are an extremely dangerous threat to any state without adequate public health infrastructure and capacity. The very recent and very real threat of biological terrorism further confirms the value and importance of public health.

Fortunately, the tools and resources needed to effectively prevent the spread of diseases are the same tools and resources necessary to protect our residents from biological attack. Senator Ortiz has consistently introduced and advanced bills increasing the funding and capacity of this state's public health system. She is equally committed to diminishing exposure to environmental hazards, to avoiding the terrible consequences tobacco use and preventable child obesity. The Senator has authored legislation to reduce child exposure to lead, to set safety standards for drinking water contaminants, to tax cigarettes to provide cessation services for the addicted, and establish the nation's first standards for exposure to toxic molds.

Senator Ortiz is committed to advancing the scientific and technological capacity of health services. As with the access to care issue, Senator Oritz's commitment to research is the result of critical analysis tempered by personal experience. The Senator recognizes very clearly that medical technology is poised for revolutionary advance, and she believes that public policy and support for that advancement is crucial. Senator Ortiz lost her mother to ovarian cancer, and recognizing the tragic need for new treatment and prevention, established herself as the recognized expert and champion for cancer research. The Senator is dedicated to ensuring the development of cures for chronic, degenerative and acute diseases within this decade through a state-funded research agenda. Senator Oritz is now leading a campaign to win significant financial support for stem cell research and biomedical advancement. She is heavily involved in the national debate on the benefits of therapeutic stem cell treatments and the value of gene based therapies for the 128 million Americans suffering from degenerative chronic conditions. Senator Ortiz created and funded the gender based cancer research project and the women's gynecological cancer information program. She has introduced three pieces of legislation to establish California's leadership on cellular biology and stem cell research, all of which encourage state pursuit of this cutting edge science and support responsible national policy.

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