All Virginians deserve access to affordable, quality healthcare. However, too many are paying more for it, and far too many working Virginians do not have access. Jennifer is committed to common sense solutions to these problems, such as focusing on prenatal care, long-term care for our seniors and making the health care system more affordable and easier for citizens to navigate and understand. Jennifer also understands the importance of expanding insurance coverage, as too many families are only one illness or injury away from economic devastation. Jennifer has also fought measures that jeopardize the sanctity of the doctor-patient relationship or impose mandates that conflict with or broadly accepted, evidence-based standards of care.
Expanding Access to Affordable Health Care Coverage
The rising cost of health care and health insurance has become a major burden for working families, seniors, and businesses across the Commonwealth. Jennifer has worked to ease this burden by:
- Supporting the Medicaid expansion and fighting efforts to cut Virginia’s already lean Medicaid program;
- Sponsoring legislation to establish a state health benefits exchange;
- Sponsoring legislation to protect health care coverage for laid-off workers who return to work;
- Sponsoring legislation to improve Virginia’s COBRA laws for small businesses;
- Sponsoring legislation to implement certain provisions of the federal Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009;
- Sponsoring legislation to relieve some of the stress on health care safety net providers in Virginia, including community health centers and free clinics by facilitating support for private nonprofit foundations that fund basic insurance coverage for indigents.
- Co-sponsoring legislation allowing small businesses to pool together so that they may offer health care services to their employees.
Reproductive Health Care Decisions
Decisions regarding medical care are best left to the doctor and the patient. This is particularly true with decisions regarding reproductive health care, which often involve difficult decisions. Jennifer has been an outspoken leader in the fight against legislation that inserts government into these complex decisions, such as the mandate that a woman have an ultrasound prior to an abortion, personhood legislation, and legislation to prohibit state funding for abortions in the case of gross fetal abnormality. Jennifer also sponsored legislation to eliminate the 30-day waiting period for sterilization of individuals who have never had or adopted a child.
Affordable Prescription Drugs
Advances in medical research have lead to longer healthier lives in America, mainly through medications. Yet the costs of prescription drugs are skyrocketing, forcing many Virginians to choose between their medication and food. In the House, Jennifer has supported efforts to help Virginians afford prescription drugs by:
- Co-sponsoring legislation to allow Virginia to join other states in the I-SaveRX initiative, which allows residents to safely take advantage of lower prescription drug prices offered in Canada, Ireland, and the United Kingdom; and
- Supporting legislation allowing local governments to participate in a new prescription drug discount program offered by the National Association of Counties that can save people hundreds of dollars a year on their prescriptions.
Helping Family Caregivers Provide Long Term Care
As the Virginia population ages, long-term care is becoming more of a challenge for Virginia families. Jennifer has supported efforts to develop and fund a more integrated system of acute and long-term care for the elderly. Jennifer is also committed to sustaining and strengthening family care-giving as a complementary component of the service delivery system, and will work to increase grants available to caregivers of mentally or physically impaired relatives. Jennifer has also worked to help protect long term care policy holders from inadvertent termination of their policy by sponsoring legislation requiring at least 60 days notice of a lapse or termination of the policy for nonpayment of premium and offering protections to policy holders who may show early signs of dementia and may not understand the ramifications of a notice of lapse or termination.