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Virginia Republicans Like Siobhan Dunnavant and Glen Sturvetant Won’t Protect People With Pre-Existing Conditions 

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From Progress VA:

Republicans Won’t Protect People With Pre-Existing Conditions 
A recording of the call can be found here

Richmond, Virginia—From opposing the Affordable Care Act to refusing to pass Medicaid Expansion until voters demanded it, legislative Republicans have repeatedly voted to undermine people’s access to quality, affordable care. According to federal government estimates, up to half of all Americans may have a preexisting condition. Yet, legislative Republicans like Senator Siobhan Dunnavant and Senator Glen Sturtevant have repeatedly supported legislative proposals that would roll back the protections of the Affordable Care Act and, if implemented, allow insurance companies to go back to discriminating against people with preexisting conditions. Progress Virginia hosted a press call to discuss this issue this afternoon.

“Everyone in our community deserves access to quality, affordable health care, regardless of income, race, or zip code. No one should have to choose between seeing a doctor when they are sick and putting food on the table for their kids,” Ashleigh Crocker, Communications Director of Progress Virginia said. “Republicans like Senator Glen Sturtevant and Senator Siobhan Dunnavant would like you to believe that they support that vision, but the fact is they have repeatedly joined their Republican colleagues and voted for legislation that would make it more difficult for people with pre-existing conditions to access health care.”

“Protecting people with pre-existing conditions is not just a soundbite,” Maura Calsyn, Managing Director of Health Policy at the Center for American Progress, said. “If you do not support the Affordable Care Act, it is flat-out misleading to say you support protections for people with pre-existing conditions because meaningful protections for people with pre-existing conditions very much depends on the coverage of essential health benefits and prohibitions on lifetime and annual limits.”

Background: 

Republican majorities in the House of Delegates and State Senate voted in 2017 for a “trigger repeal” that would automatically undo the steps Virginia had taken to comply with the ACA if President Trump successfully repealed the federal law. 

HB2411, sponsored by Delegate Kathy Byron, would have repealed Virginia’s compliance with the Affordable Care Act, including the federally-mandated essential health benefits package, which requires coverage for preexisting conditions, maternity care, and more. The bill passed with Republican votes and was vetoed by the Governor. [HB2411, 2017]

Senator Siobhan Dunnavant sponsored legislation in 2018 to expand so-called “short term” health insurance plans from 90 days to 365 days with the option to renew for two years. The legislation passed with Republican majorities in the House of Delegates and state Senate before it was vetoed by the Governor. [SB844, 2018]

  • Short term plans are exempt from many of the requirements of the ACA, including the mandate that insurers not discriminate against individuals with preexisting conditions.
  • According to The Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis, “Insurers may simply deny coverage to people who report having a pre-existing health condition. Over 1.3 million Virginians – 26 percent of the non-elderly population in the state – are estimated to have a pre-existing condition and could see ACA protections deteriorate. Short-term plan contracts typically include a broad exclusion for any care related to a pre-existing condition.” [The Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis, 11/2/2018]

Virginia could have stood up to Trump attempts to undermine the Affordable Care Act through junk plans, but instead choose to join his campaign.

Regulation of health insurance is a state prerogative. While 14 states have chosen to limit short term health insurance plans or ban them altogether to stand up for their state consumers, Senator Dunnavant instead chose to push the Trump Administration agenda to increase insurers’ ability to sell health plans that do not have to cover preexisting conditions, maternity care, and more while having the flexibility to charge people more based on their gender. [The Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis, 11/2/2018]

According to estimates, one quarter to one half of Americans are living with a preexisting condition.

A report from the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services found that up to 50% of Americans could be living with a preexisting condition. Research from the Kaiser Foundation estimates 1.3M Virginians, or 26% of the population, are living with a preexisting condition. [CMSKaiser Foundation.]

 

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Progress Virginia is a multi-issue advocacy organization dedicated to communicating progressive values across the Commonwealth. We engage citizens around issues of immediate state and local concern. www.ProgressVA.org
Contact information: Anna Scholl, Progress Virginia, PO Box 742, Earlysville, VA 22936 | info@progressnow.org