I believe that every Virginian deserves access to quality, affordable healthcare. But for decades, prescription drugs and healthcare premiums have been out of reach for far too many. When I was young, my aunt and I had to cut my grandmother’s life-saving prescriptions in half because the cost was simply too high. When I lived in Petersburg, I saw too many lives overtaken by drug addiction and mental healthcare issues that went untreated.
WeIn the are facing great challenges — such as disparate access to healthcare, exorbitant drug prices and premiums, and the opioid crisis — that won’t just go away on their own. Now is the time to make healthcare work for all Virginians.
In the Commonwealth, many of the issues I saw up close persist. Virginia has some of the most expensive healthcare costs in the nation, putting quality care out of reach for too many. The opioid crisis is ongoing and drug companies keep profiting while everyday Virginians struggle to make ends meet.
The coronavirus pandemic further exposed the inequalities that are staring us in the face. Black and Brown communities are suffering higher rates of infection and mortality due to disparate access to information, testing, and treatment. In May, nearly three of every five hospitalized due to coronavirus were Latinx in my district of Prince William County.
We cannot ignore the significant and systemic flaws in our healthcare system. That’s why as Delegate, I
- Supported the expansion of Medicaid to 400,000 newly insured Virginians
- Advocated for a paid family and medical leave program in our Commonwealth
- Led efforts to eliminate the 40-quarter rule, an unnecessary barrier that denies some immigrant populations from accessing basic healthcare services
- Passed legislation to assess the feasibility of medicaid reimbursement for doula care — an effective practice to combat the alarmingly high Black maternal mortality rates — and ensuring that donated breast milk is covered by all private insurance.
- Voted to ensure safer opioid dispensing practices, and to provide immunity to those community members who courageously report overdoses and help citizens get the aid they need
- Sponsored legislation asking the Department of Social Services to better track opioid usage among parents to better understand and target solutions for the foster care system.
- Led the call for comprehensive paid sick leave so our low-wage and frontline workers can get the care they need without fearing a loss of income
- Encouraged Governor Northam to expand Spanish-langauge access to COVID-19 information and contact tracing
As Governor, I will build on these efforts strengthening our healthcare access and COVID-19 support. I will work to lower prescription drug costs, hold drug companies accountable for price gouging, and address our opioid epidemic.