By Barbara Major and Dr. Brobson Lutz
For the first time in more than a decade, the second congressional district of Louisiana will have a new representative in Congress. The voters of the second congressional district are fortunate to have more than a dozen of their fellow citizens offer themselves for public office. Such a variety of candidates has stimulated debate around issues and engaged voters across the district. Some of the candidates have offered thoughtful ideas, and we look forward to hearing more from them in the future.
But at this uniquely critical moment in our nation’s history, we are convinced the people of the second congressional district will be best served by an experienced legislator with sound progressive values shared by most of the residents of the district, and a record of standing up for marginalized communities.
We can’t squander time with on-the-job training, nor can we risk electing a representative who may engage in the fiery rhetoric of advocacy, but without a proven record of doing the difficult work of lawmaking: respectfully listening to constituents, developing legislation to address their needs, showing up, building relationships and brokering consensus to turn good ideas into progressive public policies to address the needs of people.
We’ve reviewed the records and platforms of the candidates, and Troy Carter is the only candidate who has the sound values, well-earned experience, even temperament and unfailing commitment to people to make a difference on day one for the people of southeast Louisiana.
Troy Carter stands apart from his opponents by his pragmatic and persistent advocacy for expanding access to quality, affordable healthcare.
When it comes to healthcare, rigid ideology does next to nothing to improve people’s lives or health outcomes. The banner of “Medicare for all” has been advanced as a strict litmus test for whether you care for people’s healthcare needs. For most, it simply means universal single payer health insurance. In Congress, Troy Carter will co-sponsor the current Medicare for all legislation and when it is brought to the floor Troy will speak out strongly in support of it, and proudly cast a vote in favor of it. The difference between Karen Carter Peterson and Troy Carter is that Troy understands that saying you are for a slogan does nothing to actually provide healthcare to people.
It is simply a fact that there are not enough votes in the House or Senate to pass single payer health insurance and that many in America are satisfied with their current health care options.
So, what do we do? Do we throw up our hands and stop showing up to work hoping everyone will wake up one morning and change their minds, or do we roll up our sleeves and try to make improvements that build on what has already been accomplished? Troy is going to do the work, just as he has in his more than 15 years as a legislator on the state and local level.
President Obama fought for the Affordable Care Act to include a public option. When Sen. Joe Lieberman refused to vote for Obamacare with a public option did President Obama give up and move on? No, he took what he could get and passed landmark legislation that gave everyone access to insurance and enabled thousands of Louisianians to enroll in Medicaid.
As President Obama explained at the time, to serve the people best, we cannot let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
Was insurance available on the Obamacare exchanges too expensive? Of course, it was. That is why it was so important that the recently passed American Recovery Act contained subsidies that will, at least temporarily, make insurance on the Obamacare exchanges free for many and cost as little as $50 per month for the vast majority of middle-class Americans. This is a huge win for all of us!
President Biden has proposed adding a public option to Obamacare so that there will be a government health plan that stands alongside private sector options. That way everyone satisfied with their current health care options can keep them, but there will be affordable coverage provided by the government for all of us. Troy supports this and will work with President Biden to make it a reality.
During the Trump administration, Obamacare was saved by the slimmest of possible margins. Now, with a new administration and Congress, it is time to improve upon the hard-fought benefits for millions and work towards true universal coverage.
Troy Carter is best qualified to represent the people of southeast Louisiana in the fight to improve Obamacare to achieve universal coverage for all.
Barbara Major, former director of the St. Thomas health clinic and a co-founder of the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond, is a veteran community organizer and was the lead plaintiff in Major v. Treen, the successful voting rights lawsuit that created Louisiana’s second congressional district.
Dr. Brobson Lutz, a practicing physician and public health advocate, served as Director of Health for the City of New Orleans for 13 years.