|MCLEAN, VA – Terry McAuliffe today released his bold Building A Healthier Virginia plan to ensure that every Virginian has access to high-quality, affordable health care. Despite expanding Medicaid to 500,000 people in the Commonwealth, more than 700,000 Virginians – including 100,000 children – still lack access to health care coverage, and prescription drug costs have continued to rise during the COVID-19 pandemic. As Virginia’s next Governor, Terry will increase access to and address inequities in health care by strengthening Medicaid, working with the federal government to lower health insurance premiums, combating rising prescription drug prices and holding pharmaceutical companies accountable, and protecting Virginians’ reproductive freedoms.
To expand access to coverage and increase affordability for Virginians, Terry will partner closely with the Biden Administration as Governor. He will ensure Virginia is able to draw down federal funding in support of a state reinsurance program that will lower premiums and bolster insurer participation in the marketplace. Additionally, he will create a Medicaid buy-in program that will be available on the new state-based exchange for those who do not qualify for Medicaid but are having trouble paying for coverage, and he will increase subsidies and tax credits for families in need. He will also combat the predatory system of prescription drug pricing by creating a state watchdog for consumers that will set limits for drug prices and keep high-cost drugs affordable. And he will pass a Prescription Drug Sunlight Law to give Virginians clear information about drug costs and price increases.
As Virginia’s 72nd Governor, Terry fought tirelessly to expand Medicaid to hundreds of thousands of Virginians in the face of constant Republican obstruction and opposition. Terry laid the groundwork for the successful passage of Medicaid expansion by building his final budget proposal around the $421.7 million in estimated savings that would come from expanding Medicaid and securing an assessment on hospitals to help fund Medicaid expansion, and he made big strides in expanding access to coverage for Virginians. His “A Healthy Virginia” plan extended coverage for critical health services, dental care, mental health services, and substance use disorder services to tens of thousands of Virginians. And he created a first-of-its-kind program that expanded access to dental care to low-income pregnant women.
Terry will also fight to eliminate racial, gender and geographic inequities in health care coverage and outcomes in the Commonwealth. Black and Brown Virginians continue to be hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic, including contracting COVID-19 at disproportionate rates. As Governor, Terry will work to address these inequities, as well as the disproportionate rates of maternal mortality among Black women, by building on the Northam Administration’s efforts to secure doula coverage under Medicaid, to extend coverage for a full year for postpartum women, and he will expand access to telehealth. And Terry will always remain a brick wall in defending Virginians’ access to reproductive health services, just as he did as Virginia’s 72nd Governor when he fought off every Republican attack on reproductive rights in the Commonwealth.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us once again that Black and Brown Virginians continue to face inequities when it comes to our health care system — and the consequences can be deadly. Now more than ever we need bold leadership to improve access to care and health outcomes as we work to recover from this pandemic, and I know Terry McAuliffe will get it done,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Louise Lucas, Chair of the Senate Education and Health Committee. “Terry has a long record of fighting for what is right — as governor he stood up every day against extreme Republican opposition to expanding Medicaid. Despite their roadblocks, Terry made significant progress in expanding coverage for low-income Virginians and in creating a first-of-its-kind program for pregnant women. I trust Terry McAuliffe to fight boldly to end health disparities and expand access to coverage, because I’ve seen him do it before.”
“Terry’s health care plan is exactly what Virginians need. When he was governor, Terry expanded behavioral health care coverage to tens of thousands of vulnerable Virginians, and his substance use disorder treatment and recovery benefit has become a model for other states,” said Delegate Mark Sickles, Chair of the House Health, Welfare, and Institutions Committee. “Terry knows that the pandemic has only made mental health and substance use worse for Virginians, and as our next governor he will make sure Virginians have access to the services and care they need. If we are going to build back stronger from this pandemic, we need bold leadership and Terry is the only person for the job. He simply does not give up, and I know Terry will continue to fight for affordable health care as our next governor.”
“It is long past time for Virginia to address the flaws in our health care system, and that means closing loopholes that allow our frontline health care workers to slip through the cracks. I know we can count on Terry to deliver for Virginia, because he has done so before time and again,” said Delegate Chris Hurst. “As Virginia’s 72nd Governor, Terry never stopped fighting to expand Medicaid coverage to hundreds of thousands of Virginians. And when Virginians needed him recently, Terry immediately helped bring legislators together in support of my bill to establish a retroactive presumption of COVID-19 as an occupational disease for workers’ compensation for our health care heroes.”
“Access to quality, affordable health care is a fundamental right, and our work to ensure all Virginians have access to it is far from over. Between the COVID-19 pandemic, hundreds of thousands of Virginians who remain uninsured, and the continued threat of rising prescription drug prices, we have much work to be done — but I’ve never shied away from a tough fight and I know we will get it done,” said Terry McAuliffe. “As governor, I will act boldly and partner with our Democratic legislature and President Biden’s administration. Together, we will lower costs for Virginians, eradicate racial inequities in access to care and outcomes, and always remain a brick wall against any attacks on Virginians’ reproductive rights.”
As Virginia’s 72nd Governor, Terry stood as a “brick wall” in defense of Virginians’ reproductive freedoms. He vetoed every single anti-reproductive health bill passed by the Republican-led General Assembly, including multiple bills that would have defunded Planned Parenthood in the Commonwealth. He also signed a critical piece of legislation that allows Virginians to obtain a full-year of contraceptives. As Virginia’s next governor, Terry will continue to fiercely protect Virginians’ access to reproductive health care by working with the legislature and voters to enshrine Roe v. Wade in Virginia’s constitution, ensuring that every Virginian has access to all FDA-approved contraceptives, and prohibiting discrimination for reproductive health decisions.
Since launching his campaign, Terry has released big, bold plans to strengthen Virginia’s education system and dramatically increase teacher pay, help secure Virginia’s economic recovery from COVID-19, reform our criminal justice system to create a more equitable Virginia, ensure Virginians have access to regular nutritious meals, address the broken, predatory system of prescription drug pricing, boldly confront the gun violence epidemic, make Virginia the best state in the nation for Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Healthcare (STEM-H) and computer science education, tackle the housing crisis in the Commonwealth and invest in Virginia’s workforce to create a more equitable post-COVID economy.