Patients, consumers, and health policy experts advocate at Virginia State Capitol for access to high-quality health insurance coverage, pre-existing conditions protections for all Virginians

 Healthy Market VA, a coalition of organizations representing thousands of Virginians with chronic diseases, small business owners, and older adults spoke out on Tuesday, January 28 at the Virginia State Capitol in Richmond to ensure that preserving life-saving patient protections and strengthening Virginia’s health insurance marketplace are top priorities for lawmakers this session.

State lawmakers are considering expanding access to health plans that are not thorough enough and put people in danger of not having the insurance coverage they need if they get sick. This could lead to high medical debt, the spread of poor-quality insurance options, and increased illness and death.

Patients shared stories with legislators about how they’ve managed their chronic conditions and why it’s important for Virginia to ensure that pre-existing conditions are protected. Avis Thomas of Richmond, Virginia is mother of four, a kidney transplant recipient, and has suffered life-long health issues. Her children and husband also suffer from chronic health issues. “Nobody signs up to have a pre-existing condition. With all the stressors of life, I can’t seem to shake the hardship of finding affordable and comprehensive healthcare,” she shared.

A local small business owner, Tierra Henderson also of Richmond, shared her story and discussed how current policies impact small business health coverage. “If I am unable to afford comprehensive health plans for my employees, I cannot attract a qualified workforce,” Henderson said.

Physician advocates talked about the need for access to care for Virginia’s most vulnerable populations. “As a physician, I see the importance of affordable, high-quality insurance for every person and family, including those with pre-existing conditions, small business owners, and older adults.”  says advocate Dr. Nina Solenski from Albemarle County and member of the American Heart Association’s Virginia Advocacy Committee.

Even if you couldn’t make it to the Capitol, you can still take action. Contact your legislators and tell them to support affordable high quality health care access for all.   Access to health care should put patients first. By supporting these issues, we can ensure that affordable, high quality health care is available for all Virginians.  Follow along on social media with #DefendPreEx and #HealthyMarketVA.

Healthy Market VA works to ensure access to affordable, high-quality healthcare coverage for everyone by strengthening Virginia’s health insurance marketplace. It is made up of health organizations including: American Heart Association, AARP Virginia, Arthritis Foundation, VPLC, The Commonwealth Institute, Leukemia Lymphoma Society, American Lung Association, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Small Business Majority, Virginia Breast Cancer Foundation, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, Hemophilia Foundation and the Hemophilia Association of the Capital Area.

 Check out the Virginia News Service story:

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