Colorado is often called the healthiest state in the US-and in many ways, we are. But not everyone has equal access to quality healthcare. We need a comprehensive, equitable health perspective that encompasses everyone from childhood to senior health care.
Child Health Care.
Although we are one of the healthiest states in the US, there are plenty of ways in which we can improve. In 2019, 1 in every 10 Coloradans experienced food insecurity, with people with lower incomes, those who live in rural areas, young adults, Black Coloradans, Latinx Coloradans, and women being disproportionately impacted. Additionally, we have one of the lowest vaccination rates for Kindergarten aged children in the country, putting infants and children at high risk for outbreaks of contagious dangerous diseases.
Leslie believes that it takes more than books and school supplies for students to thrive. Supporting students means helping them stay healthy as well. During the COVID-19 pandemic Leslie made it a priority to ensure that student’s still received their school meals, joining local schools to pass them out herself. Leslie will continue to fight for increased access to healthy foods, recreation spaces, and safe sidewalks, bike lanes, and trails. She will also continue to support legislation that preserve a parent’s right to send their child to school without having to worry about their health while also preserving parental choice for those with genuinely and deeply-held personal or religious objections to immunizations.
Recreational marijuana is a public health issue. Colorado is doing a tremendous job leading the way for the rest of the nation in managing this new enterprise. At the same time, while we can respect the rights of responsible adults, steps should be taken to prevent it from falling into the wrong hands, including those of under-age children. Leslie supports legislation that does just that.
Leslie believes that children should be educated on the responsibilities surrounding marijuana use. She will continue to ensure that efforts to regulate the marijuana industry are adequately funded, including practices to keep marijuana out of the hands of children, and she will continue to support efforts of scientists which can help us better understand the effects of marijuana use.
While health care policy has never been more complex than it is today, our goals remain the same: better care at a lower cost. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was a huge victory for President Obama and our nation. Today hundreds of thousands of Coloradans have health insurance who could not afford it in the past. Still, premiums increase every year, small businesses struggle to cover their employees and low-income families face serious hurdles in finding access to proper treatment.
Leslie believes that healthcare is a right. She will continue to support policies that build on the ACA’s success to help Colorado families live healthier, happier lives.
Womxn's Health Care.
An independent spirit and a profound respect for individual freedoms are part of the Colorado way of life. When it comes to women’s health, the government must respect a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions, including reproductive decisions. Our groundbreaking efforts to educate young women on the importance of reproductive precautions has shown huge success.
Health care for people with uteruses includes more than a yearly check up. Leslie has passed numerous pieces of legislation to support this population’s health including providing menstrual hygiene products in correctional facilities, human services facilities, and schools [HB19-1224, SB21-255]; increasing access to insurance coverage for fertility diagnosis and treatment [HB20-1158]; and ensuring those who are incarcerated while pregnant receive quality treatment [HB20-193].
Leslie opposes all efforts that attempt to limit a person’s right to an abortiion or other reproductive rights. She will continue to advocate only for legislation that is truly supportive of womxn’s health.
Mental health across the US is worsening. Far too often folks aren’t receiving adequate care until it’s too late, causing many to become involved in the criminal justice system. Roughly 33% of those incarcerated in the Colorado Department of Corrections system have mental health needs and 22% of that population are facing serious mental health illnesses. Additionally, we are only beginning to truly understand the extreme impact of COVID-19 on mental health. In 2020, calls and texts to Colorado Crisis Services increased 55% and fatal drug overdoses increased by 59%. It’s imperative that we use every tool to address this mental health crisis.
Leslie has worked to combat these horrific trends by expanding treatment programs [SB19-227]; increasing access to opiate antagonist [SB19-227]; allocating funds to study opioid and other substance use disorders [SB20-028]; requiring health coverage for alternative treatments to opioids, such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, chiropractic visits, and acupuncture [HB21-1276]; and mandating continued education concerning opioids for physicians and physician assistance in order to renew their license [HB21-1276].
Leslie will continue fighting for policies that truly address addiction by increasing access to treatment, funding addiction research, investing in evidence based harm reduction interventions, and more.