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Video: Sen. Ghazala Hashmi and Del. Mark Sickles Join Protect Our Care Virginia to Mark 14-Year Anniversary of the ACA

Health Committee Chairs Discuss How Democratic Budget Builds On Its Progress

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From Protect Our Care:

Senator Hashmi and Delegate Sickles Join Protect Our Care Virginia to Mark 14-Year Anniversary of the ACA, Discuss How Democratic Budget Builds On Its Progress

Health Committee Chairs Discuss How the Democratic Conference Budget Builds on the Progress of the Affordable Care Act By Putting Families First

*Watch the event here*

RICHMOND, Va. – Senator Ghazala Hashmi (D-Chesterfield), Delegate Mark Sickles (D-Fairfax), advocates and storytellers today joined Protect Our Care Virginia to celebrate the 14th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and discuss how health care investments in the Families First budget passed by Democratic majorities in the General Assembly build on the landmark law.

 

Speakers discussed how the ACA has protected people with pre-existing conditions, lowered costs for people who buy their own coverage, and increased access to quality, affordable health care. President Biden and Democrats in Congress are committed to building on and protecting the historic successes of the ACA by making lower Marketplace premiums permanent to keep plans affordable, lowering prescription drug prices, cracking down on junk plans, and expanding Medicaid. A record-breaking 21 million Americans enrolled in health coverage through ACA marketplaces for 2024 – including 400,000 who obtained coverage through Virginia’s new marketplace — an increase of approximately 8 million nationally since President Biden took office and a 14 percent increase in Virginia from the previous year.

 

In Virginia, Democrats are continuing to build on the progress of the ACA by sending a budget to Governor Glenn Youngkin’s desk that puts families first. It includes measures to lower the cost of prescription drugs, keep plans purchased on the Marketplace affordable, strengthen Medicaid, expand access to services for people with disabilities, and invest in Federally Qualified Health Centers and free clinics.

 

On the other hand, Donald Trump and Republicans are threatening to repeal the ACA, which would kick millions of people off their health plans, while Governor Glenn Youngkin’s proposed budget lacks the robust health care investments put forth by Democrats.

“As Vice-Chair of Virginia’s Asian American and Pacific Islander Caucus, I am especially proud of what the ACA has meant for our AAPI communities here in Virginia. So thanks to the ACA, the uninsured rate of Asian Americans has been cut by more than 50% between 2010 and 2022,” said Senator Hashmi, who chairs the Senate Education and Health Committee.  “That milestone effectively eliminated the coverage disparity that existed with white Americans. And so in other words, the ACA has been a powerful tool for racial justice in our country, for numerous communities.”

 

“We just delivered a budget that expands access to health care. We’re investing $6 million in FQHC’s – the Federally Qualified Health Centers – and the Free Clinics. And more people will be able to see a doctor and get the care they need,” said Delegate Sickles, who chairs the House Health and Human Services Committee. “You may have seen recent reporting that the governor is going to donate a couple thousand dollars of his salary to free clinics. Hopefully, he will not veto this budget that has more money for everyone in a systematic way.”

“As someone who pays a lot of attention to the budget, I can confidently say that the budget makes significantly stronger and more meaningful investments in health care for the most vulnerable Virginians compared to Governor Youngkin’s introduced budget,” said Freddy Mejia, Policy Director at The Commonwealth Institute. “As budget negotiations continue, I hope the governor and lawmakers can come to an agreement that continues to build on the legacy and impact of the ACA as we celebrate 14 years of progress.”

“If it weren’t for the ACA, I would be in hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt because the out-of-pocket costs would be beyond anything I could pay for,” said Rodrigo Soto of Springfield.  “I’m thankful for the ACA for keeping me insured while I was in school; it’s saved me more times than I can share.”

“Because of the Affordable Care Act and the passage of Medicaid expansion here in Virginia in 2018, I was able to apply for and get on Medicaid, which I am still on today,” said Julie O’Brien of Richmond. “I’ve had a great experience on Medicaid. I am on a few different medications that I need to function and operate in good health, and on my current plan, I have no co-pay for these meds. Which is just incredible. I’m able to pursue my career and enjoy my personal life without the weight hanging over my head over how am I going to pay for medications that I need to survive.”

“It feels great to celebrate 14 years of the Affordable Care Act transforming lives and making health care more accessible than ever,” said Protect Our Care Virginia State Director Katie Baker. “This anniversary is deeply personal to me, as I could not access affordable care before the ACA. I was kicked off my parents’ health plan before I turned 26, and was then denied affordable coverage due to a back injury and another pre-existing condition. That’s why I’m so invested in protecting it against Republican attempts at repeal.”

You can watch the full event here, and learn more about President Biden’s commitment to lowering health care costs here.

A side-by-side comparison of the health care investments in the Governor’s proposed budget and the conference budget that was sent to his desk can be viewed on Page 8 of The Commonwealth Institute’s side-by-side here.

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Protect Our Care is dedicated to making high-quality, affordable and equitable health care a right, and not a privilege, for everyone in America. We educate the public, influence policy, support health care champions and hold politicians accountable. We fight to expand access to affordable, high-quality health insurance, lower the cost of health care for individuals and families, and reduce inequities in health care based on gender, income, race, ethnicity, geography, or sexual preference.

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