HEALTH INSURANCE IN VIRGINIA - DEMOCRATIC SUCCESS!
Thanks to the Democrats, a historic step was taken forward in 2018 to improve the state of health care in Virginia.
In May 2018, the Virginia legislature voted to make government health insurance available to 400,000 low-income residents, overcoming 5 years of GOP resistance. Virginia has joined 32 other states and the District of Columbia in expanding Medicaid coverage (Washington Post).
REGULATION OF HEALTH INSURANCE INDUSTRY
So there is hope for moving the state of health care in Virginia in a positive direction. However, much more needs to be done.
In 2017, the lives of 200,000 Virginians were placed in danger.
After the Republicans made repeated attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the health insurance market was shaken by uncertainty. Then President Donald Trump promised to end cost sharing subsidies, and shortened the health insurance enrollment period to a mere six weeks. The response of the Anthem health insurance company to this uncertainty was to pull out of Virginia. Their exit was so hasty, many customers never even received an official notification of their departure. Originally Anthem also decided to leave some areas to no providers at all. They eventually rescinded that decision and offered care in some areas where they were the sole provider, with the contingency that they got to charge customers sky-high prices.
Charlottesville Virginia now has some of the most expensive premiums in the nation, with some people experiencing a cost increase up to 300%.
What happened in 2017 cannot be allowed to happen in our state again. More needs to be done to protect the rights of patients.
REGULATION OF THE HEALTH CARE INDUSTRY
Not only does the right to health care need to be protected, but more on the state level needs to be done to regulate institutions like hospitals and nursing homes. It is estimated that over 200,000 people in America die every year do to medical incompetence. Millions more are injured. See Report.
And the state of Virginia is not exempt to these abuses.
The sick and the elderly often do not have a voice for themselves. So greater regulation needs to be put in place so they are not taken advantage of and abused by the systems that are meant to keep them safe.
PAID SICK LEAVE
Everyone is healthier when the sick are allowed to take off work. No one wants to go to a restaurant with the knowledge that the chef is coughing on the food. Yet unfortunately, many people have no option.
Maryland has a Paid Sick Leave Law. This should be a model for Virginia. In Maryland, the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act requires that employers with 15 or more employees provide paid sick and safe leave for certain employees. It also requires that employers who employ 14 or fewer employees provide unpaid sick and safe leave for certain employees. More about Maryland's model of Paid Sick Leave
Virginia Interfaith Center
41 Percent of private sector workers, 1.2 million Virginians, have 0 paid sick days (or paid time off). This creates a crisis for low-wage workers who must choose between taking a sick day for themselves or a loved one and getting paid.
This is why the Virginia Interfaith Center is working to create a paid sick day standard to require all employers with six or more employees to provide five paid sick days (40 hours) each year for full-time workers that could be used for themselves or to care for a sick loved one. Part-time employees would accrue less paid sick time based on hours worked. PTO policies qualify as paid sick days. More about the work Virginia Interfaith Center is doing.
A SUMMARY OF OUR GOALS FOR HEALTH CARE IN VIRGINIA
- Greater regulation of the health insurance industry
- Greater regulation of nursing homes.
- Greater regulation of hospitals.
- The protection of patients rights from abuse by their providers. (Such as the protection of the sick and the elderly from abuse by health care workers).
- Paid sick leave (like what Maryland has)