Similar to the midterms in 2018, health care remains a top issue for voters in Virginia ahead of the Nov. 5 legislative elections. Nearly 90 percent of registered voters said it will be a very important factor for the elections, according to a Washington Post-Schar School poll.
In 2018, Virginia joined more than 30 states that have already expanded Medicaid. The move has given coverage to thousands of uninsured, low-income residents.
Gov. Northam, who signed a state budget bill in June that expanded Medicaid, said that more than 300,000 Virginians have enrolled as of August 2019.
The expansion of Medicaid, along with health care prices, access and coverage, has been brought to the forefront by several local candidates.
How local candidates are focusing on health care
A local contest getting a lot of attention — and spending millions in TV ads — is the 12th Senate District race between Sen. Siobhan Dunnavant (R-Henrico) and Del. Debra Rodman (D-Henrico).
Sen. Dunnavant, an OB-GYN, has focused on her health care policies and previous legislation she has worked on during her campaign. She has touted her effort to require insurance companies to share cost alternatives with patients in order to give them cheaper options.
Dunnavant does not support Medicaid expansion, as she claims it’s costing taxpayers money for the thousands of people who don’t seek care.
“We are paying over $500 monthly for them to have health insurance, while they are not seeking care. That’s $500 x 100,000 monthly for those not seeking care versus my plan that was designed to help those in need,” Dunnavant’s campaign site says.
On the other hand, Del. Rodman has brought up the effort she took while in the House of Delegates to make Medicaid expansion a reality.
“Debra fought tirelessly on the campaign trail and in the General Assembly to expand access to Medicaid for 400,000 Virginians. But prices, coverage, access, everything to do with the health insurance system are still a serious source of stress,” Rodman’s site for Senate explains.
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