From the Debra Rodman for State Senate campaign:
For the Record: Senator Dunnavant’s Stance on Healthcare
HENRICO — Today, Debra Rodman released a new TV ad highlighting her opponent’s health care record as a state Senator. The ad, titled “Waiting Room,“ focuses on Senator Dunnavant’s efforts to pass the same health care policies President Trump advocates for in his attempts to undermine the Affordable Care Act. When the people of Henrico and Hanover vote this November, they deserve to know that Senator Dunnavant wrote Virginia’s Republican bill that would let insurance companies deny coverage for pre-existing conditions.
Check the facts:
Fact: Senator Dunnavant wrote the Republican bill that would let insurance companies deny coverage for pre-existing conditions in Virginia.
- Her bill, SB844, would authorize “short-term” plans in Virginia. Pushing “short-term” — aka “junk” coverage is just another typical Republican tactic to undermine the Affordable Care Act by splitting the marketplace into comprehensive, expensive plans for older people and those with pre-existing conditions, and cheaper but high-risk coverage for young people without a pre-existing condition.
Fact: Just like the Republicans who were voted out of Congress last year, Senator Dunnavant ran for office to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
- Dunnavant said of her decision to run for office in 2015, “the final straw for me was Obamacare.” She listed “fighting Obamacare” as her top reason for running, and spoke fondly of Republican’s attempts to undermine the marketplace:
- “With a Supreme Court decision expected this summer that threatens to undermine subsidies to the Affordable Care Act, Virginia may finally have an opportunity to take back control over its health care policies.”
- “If the Supreme Court makes the decision we all hope and pray it does on Obamacare, everything will change. I can help.”
Fact: Now, Senator Dunnavant is using the same playbook Donald Trump and National Republicans use to undermine the ACA by pushing short- term health care plans.
- Dunnavant’s bill, SB844 authorizes “short-term” plans in Virginia.
- LATimes, 7/19/19, HEADLINE: “Trump win on short-term health plans advances his effort to undo Obamacare
- Republican Susan Collins of Maine voted for the Democratic resolution opposing short-term plan regulation, stating “It is essential that individuals who suffer from pre-existing conditions are covered.“
- “The initiative to expand short-term coverage arose in 2017 after the Senate failed in its push for ACA repeal. In an executive order, President Donald Trump called for expanding access to short-term coverage, describing those policies as exempt from the ACA’s “onerous and expensive insurance mandates and regulations.”
- NYTimes, 8/1/2018: The [Trump] administration acknowledged that making short-term insurance more available, for longer periods of time, could raise premiums for individual health insurance coverage in the Affordable Care Act marketplace.
Fact: Senator Dunnavant’s short-term plans put insurance company profits over patients’ care.
- Short-term health plans are lucrative for insurance companies because they are not required to (and often don’t) cover the 10 essential health benefits, including maternity care and prescription drugs. There is also no requirement that they spend the majority of premiums on medical care. ACA-compliant plans which must meet a minimum medical-loss ratio of at least 80%. In 2019, the average ratio for a short-term plan was only 39% (Modern Health Care, 8/6/2019).
- Modern Health Care, 8/6/2019: “If the MLRs were higher, that would suggest people are still getting value (from the short-term plans). But when loss ratios are very low that means there’s a lot of overhead built into your premium and a relatively small amount of your premium is actually going to be paid out in claims. It does raise the question of what kind of value people are getting from these plans,” said Cynthia Cox, a vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Senator Dunnavant is using her profile as a doctor to distract from her record on health care that would let insurance companies deny coverage for pre-existing conditions. At the end of the day, her plan on health care is no different than the same tired Republican plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act that voters have already rejected.