Menu

Where the Democratic candidates stand on paid leave, childcare costs + health care

The ninth debate is scheduled for February 19.

Where the Democratic candidates stand on paid leave, childcare costs + health care

[Editor's note: Motherly is committed to covering all relevant presidential candidate plans as we approach the 2020 election. We are making efforts to get information from all candidates. Motherly does not endorse any political party or candidate. We stand with and for mothers and advocate for solutions that will reduce maternal stress and benefit women, families and the country.]

When the race began, it was a crowded field—but the closer we get to 2020, fewer and fewer Democratic candidates remain in the race for the presidency. Exits of once high-profile candidates, including Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris and Andrew Yang have narrowed the field, and in a month that's already seen one debate, the Iowa caucus and the New Hampshire primary, Democrats are prepping for two more debates.

The next two debates are scheduled for February 19 in Las Vegas and February 25 in Charleston.

So where do the candidates stand on issues of importance to parents? We're keeping track of the plans they're putting forth and how they could impact your family.

Here are the candidates, in no particular order:

Elizabeth Warren

Elizabeth Warren

Paid leave: Wants to see "at least 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave" as noted in her Green Manufacturing Plan.

Childcare costs: Warren plans to introduce Universal Child Care as a right for every child in America. The plan would see the federal government partner with states, municipalities, school districts, nonprofits, tribes and faith-based organizations "to create a network of child care options that would be available to every family."

Health care: Warren is down for Medicare for All, and wants every person in America to have full health care coverage without any middle class tax increase.

Joe Biden

Joe Biden

Paid leave: Biden has not made a statement about a specific plan or number of weeks he wants to see for paid family leave.

Childcare costs: Biden plans to "provide high-quality, universal pre-kindergarten for all three- and four-year-olds."

Health care: Biden plans to build on the Affordable Care Act to offer an affordable public option to American families.

Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders

Paid leave: Sanders co-sponsored The FAMILY Act to give workers at least 12 weeks of universal paid family and medical leave.

Childcare costs: Sanders has stated he is in favor of universal childcare. "We have a dysfunctional childcare system in this country, which is too expensive for parents, while providers are paid totally inadequate wages. We need to do what other countries around the world do—develop a high quality universal childcare program," he tweeted.

Health care: As noted on his website, Sanders plans to "create a Medicare for All, single-payer, national health insurance program to provide everyone in America with comprehensive health care coverage, free at the point of service."

Pete Buttigieg

Pete Buttigieg

Paid leave: Buttigieg supports the FAMILY Act and wants to see 12 weeks of paid leave.

Childcare costs: Promising a "comprehensive child care plan will make high-quality child care free for families most in need, and affordable for all."

Health care: His plan is called Medicare for All Who Want It. As explained on his website, under this plan "everyone will be able to opt in to an affordable, comprehensive public alternative. This affordable public plan will incentivize private insurers to compete on price and bring down costs. If private insurers are not able to offer something dramatically better, this public plan will create a natural glide-path to Medicare for All."

Amy Klobuchar

Amy Klobuchar

Paid leave: Her plans to support workers include: "garanteeing up to 12 weeks of paid family leave and allowing workers to earn paid sick leave."

Childcare costs: Worked with Republican Dan Sullivan to introduced the the Child Care Workforce and Facilities Act, "to bring the cost of child care down and provide more child care centers in areas that need them the most."

Health care: On her website she states she: supports universal health care for all Americans, and she believes the quickest way to get there is through a public option that expands Medicare or Medicaid. She supports changes to the Affordable Care Act to help bring down costs to consumers including providing cost-sharing reductions, making it easier for states to put reinsurance in place, and continuing to implement delivery system reform

Tulsi Gabbard

Tulsi Gabbard

Paid leave: Like many of her fellow candidates, Gabbard supports The Family Act. which would see parents get 12 weeks of leave.

Child care costs: Plans unclear.

Health care: Gabbard "supports the Medicare for All Act and serves on the Medicare for All Caucus".

Tom Steyer

Tom Steyer

Paid leave: Plans unclear.

Child care costs: Plans unclear.

Health care: Plans to "create a competitive public option to drive down costs, expand coverage, and deliver quality care to everyone who lives here, including the undocumented community," according to his website.

Mike Bloomberg

Paid leave: Supports 12 weeks of paid family leave, according to The Washington Post.

Child care cost: Plans to "increase the Child Tax Credit, make it fully refundable, and phase it in faster, starting with the first dollar of earnings."

Health care: According to his website, Bloomberg plans to "create a Medicare-like public option" and "build on the Affordable Care Act."

[A version of this post was originally published November 20, 2019. It has been updated.]

Ara Katz/Seed

We spoke to Ara Katz, co-founder and co-CEO of Seed, who shared her journey to (and through) motherhood—and gave us the lowdown on how probiotics can benefit mamas and children alike.

Chances are, you're aware that probiotics can help us digest the food we eat, keep inflammation at bay, synthesize essential vitamins and more. But here's the thing: When it comes to probiotics, there's a lot of misinformation… and because of that, it's hard to know what's actually a probiotic and which is the right one for you.

That's why we chatted with Ara Katz, who is a mama to son Pax and the co-founder of Seed, a company disrupting the probiotics industry. The entrepreneur told us about her motherhood journey, what led her to start her company and what she wants other parents to know about probiotics.

Q. What was life like for you before you became a mama?

I was bi-coastal after co-founding a mobile tech company in New York City with a partner in LA. My life was, for as long as I can remember, consumed by creating and work. I was fairly nomadic, loved to travel, spent many hours reading and practicing yoga, being with friends [and] waking up at the crack of dawn. [I] was fairly sure I would never marry or have children. And then something shifted.

Q. What were some pivotal moments that defined your journey to motherhood?

Ha, that makes it sound like motherhood is a destination when at this very moment, more than ever, it evolves daily. I lost my mom when I was 17 and spent most of my life believing I didn't want to be a mother. I had a lot of wiring about its limitations and constraints—I'm sure relics of grief and the fear of loss.

My journey started with a physiological wanting to be pregnant and have a baby. There was a kind of visceral sense that my body wanted to know what that was like and a strange curiosity that, at least for that period of time, usurped my ambivalence about motherhood.

Then I had a miscarriage—a beautiful inflection point in my story. I resigned from my company, chose a coast, committed to be more committed to my (then) boyfriend, now husband, and tried again. I got pregnant shortly after that and found pregnancy to be a profound journey within, a reshaping of my life and the tiniest glimpse of how motherhood would unfold.

In the 55 months since giving birth (and I like to use months because I have learned in the moments that I am most frustrated as a mom that he has only been on this planet for less than 14 fiscal quarters), I have realized and surrendered to a definition of motherhood that is a process. One of cultivating, creating, recreating, shapeshifting, learning, feeling, healing, hurting and experiencing the most potent form of presence I have ever experienced—and an aching, expansive love I didn't know possible—not just for my son, but for all living things.

Q. How did motherhood change your approach to your career?

Becoming a mother is certainly a persistent lens on all of my choices, but it was really my miscarriage that recalibrated my path. My pregnancy rekindled my love of biology and health and led me to my co-founder and the microbiome. My breastfeeding experience incepted our first product focus, and the newfound accountability for a human inspired our brand.

Q. What inspired you to co-found Seed?

I met my co-founder, Raja, during my pregnancy with Pax. [I] was immediately awestruck by his ability to both deeply understand science and to methodically break down a product, dietary question or piece of advice in a way that's educational (you actually learn something about your body), actionable (you understand what to do with the information) and foundational (you can build on that knowledge in the future to continue to make better choices).

As we spent more time, our combined passion for microbes, their potential impact on both human health and the environment, and how to set up a child for a healthy life became increasingly clear. And through birth, seeding (the process by which we get our foundational microbes and the inspiration for the name of our company) Pax and my struggles with breastfeeding, my entrepreneurial spirit was lit to build something with Raja. His deep experience in translating science to product, and mine in consumer, community-building and translating through storytelling, culminated in a shared vision to set a new standard in health through bacteria.

Q. Probiotics have been trending in recent years, but they're nothing new—can you talk a bit about the importance of probiotics?

Interest in gut health and probiotics increases month by month. However, despite the quickly growing number of "probiotic" supplements, foods and beverages out there, there's still a lot of consumer confusion—particularly around what they are, how they work and why we should take them. Probiotics have been studied extensively across various life stages, body sites and for many benefits. Digestion is an obvious and immediate one (and the primary reason most people currently take probiotics). But other strains have also been studied for skin health, heart health and gut health (including gut immune function and gut barrier integrity). But this doesn't mean that any and all probiotics can do these things—this is the importance of 'strain specificity.' In other words, ensuring that the specific strains in your probiotic have been studied for the benefit you desire is critical.

Seed Daily Synbiotic

Seed

Seed's Daily Synbiotic is a 24-strain probiotic + prebiotic formulated for whole-body benefits, including gut, skin and heart health.


Q. How do probiotics play a role in your life?

I mean, I take them, I develop them and I work with some of the leading scientists from around the world advancing the field—so they play a big role. As for my personal health, I take our Daily Synbiotic daily and my son also takes specific strains for gastrointestinal health and gut immune function. Beyond that, it's the re-orientation around my microbiome that guides many of my choices: how important fiber is, specific compounds like polyphenols found in berries, green tea and other foods, avoiding the use of NSAIDS like ibuprofen and antibiotics when not needed, exercise, sleep and time in nature [are] all aspects of our daily life that impact our microbiome and our health.

Q. What are some misconceptions about probiotics that you would like to set straight?

There's one main myth on from which all the other stem: that probiotics aren't considered a serious science. On the contrary, it's a field of inquiry that demands incredible rigor and extensive research. And when anything and everything from chocolate to ice cream to fermented food and kombucha to mattresses can call itself "probiotic" due to underregulation in the category, that grossly undermines the science and their potential.

The term 'probiotic' has a globally-accepted scientific definition that was actually co-authored by our Chief Scientist, Dr. Gregor Reid ,for the United Nations/World Health Organization.

At Seed, we work to reclaim the term for science, through the development of next-generation probiotics that include clinically validated strains and undergo the most rigorous safety, purity and efficacy testing procedures. Because why would you invite billions of unknown microbes into your body without asking "what's in here, is it the correct dosage that was studied, and has that strain in that amount been studied in human clinical trials to do something beneficial for my body"?

Q. Can you tell us a little bit about what product you plan to launch next?

We are developing a pipeline of consumer probiotics to target specific ecosystems of the body and life stages, including a synbiotic for children. Our next product will reflect a unique breakthrough in the field of pediatric probiotics, which we are excited to announce soon.

This article was sponsored by Seed. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

Our Partners

10 photos to take on baby’s first day that you'll cherish forever

You'll obsess over these newborn baby pictures.

Bethany Menzel: Instagram + Blog

As you're preparing for baby's birth, we bet you're dreaming of all of the amazing photos you'll take of your precious new babe. As a professional photographer and mama, I have some tips for newborn photos you'll want to capture.

Here are the 10 photos you will want to take on baby's first day.

Keep reading Show less
Life

Cameron Diaz on having a baby at 47: 'You really have to work hard for it'

"The only pressure for me now is I have to live to be, like, 107, you know? No pressure!"

This is the decade that saw the face of first-time motherhood change. The number of first-time mamas under 30 is shrinking, while more and more women are becoming moms after 40.

Cameron Diaz is one of them. The actress and businesswoman, now 48, became a mom in January at the age of 47. In a new episode of Naomi Campbell's YouTube series, No Filter, Diaz opens up about what it's like to become a mom in your fourth decade.

"A lot of people do it the other way around ... they get married [and] have a family in their youth," says Diaz."I'm kind of doing it in the second half of my life."

Keep reading Show less
News