Home Coronavirus Del. Danica Roem: “ Bethesda wasn’t an option for most of those...

Del. Danica Roem: “[Walter Reed Hospital in] Bethesda wasn’t an option for most of those nearly 1,000 people hospitalized between the two localities I represent”

"Why the hell can't the POTUS and senators see this?"

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Important words from Del. Danica Roem

As I wrote earlier, I tested negative for COVID-19 but I’m still in quarantine until Oct. 6 because, well, rules are rules. If I had been positive and hospitalized, I would’ve been okay financially because of my government-funded (taxpayer-funded) health insurance.

Three years ago, such a stay would’ve drained me. I was uninsured.

Our elected reps’ insurance coverage should be our baseline for everyone.

I can’t help but think of that scenario, how when I raised my right hand Jan. 10, 2018, I would still be uninsured for another three weeks. It had been 2.5 years since I was last insured.

Then, suddenly, Feb. 1, 2018, I had the best health insurance coverage of my life. Why?

You shouldn’t have to win elected office to have decent health insurance. Our insurance as elected officials shouldn’t be better than our constituents. That’s not to say ours should be worse; it’s to say everyone else should be covered, everyone else shouldn’t have to worry.

In Bethesda right now, you have world-class physicians and technology ready for the POTUS and anyone else with access to enter to premise. But in Prince William County, 209 people are dead from COVID-19 and another eight from Manassas Park have died. Meanwhile, 923 people from PWC and 55 from MP have been hospitalized.

It’s not much of a stretch to imagine Bethesda wasn’t an option for most of those nearly 1,000 people hospitalized between the two localities I represent, let alone the 217 people who’ve died. Chances are a lot of those hospitalized patients have stacks of medical debt and bills.

What we have right now are the President and three senators being granted all-access passes to the best health care money can buy on the taxpayers’ dime while they are actively calling for the repeal of the health insurance of their constituents.

That’s beyond messed up. It’s wrong.

We’ve debated since 2009 about the private health insurance exchange, expanding Medicaid, a public option, M4A; take your pick, the point has been (or needs to be) how can we insure everyone.

It’s abhorrent to me to even think that I would have better insurance than my constituents just because I’m their state delegate.

Why the hell can’t the POTUS and senators see this? How is this not crystal-effing-clear in their eyes that their constituents should be treated as equals? Hundreds of thousands of people are dead, more are/have been hospitalized and their federal reps have carte blanche coverage.

Voting to expand Medicaid is the single most important vote I’ve cast since being sworn in Jan. 10, 2018, somewhere close to 3,700 of my constituents don’t just have “access” to Medicaid expansion but are actually enrolled in it now as are 469,692 adults across the commonwealth.

Yet hundreds of thousands of Virginians remain uninsured or underinsured. How many of them have had to be hospitalized or had to go to urgent care or the ER for any reason, let alone COVID-19? I was one of those Virginians for 2.5 years. No one should have to live like that.

If the voters trust Democratic candidates running for federal office to govern with a trifecta, for all the tug-of-war in our party right now over what health care should look like the 2020s, at least start from this premise:

None of your constituents should have less than you.

Warmly,

Danica