HEALTHCARE

Dan Ward believes that all Americans have a right to affordable, accessible, quality healthcare. Elderly Virginians should not have to worry about cuts to Medicare. Low-income Virginians and their children should not be cast aside by politicians fortunate enough to have never needed services such as Medicaid. Politicians have no place between a woman and her doctor. Hard-working Virginians should be able to come home, sit at their dinner table, and know that a pre-existing condition or a catastrophic accident will not put them or their family in financial ruin.

Dan will always stand up against extremists trying to take health care away from fellow Virginians. We can’t play ideological politics with our nation’s health care system. It’s not good for Virginia. It’s not good for America.

The Affordable Care Act gave 20 million more Americans access to affordable health insurance, including many here in the 7th Congressional District of Virginia. In ways too numerous to list, it did a lot to level the playing field between patients and insurers. And yet it isn’t perfect. We still have work to do to improve the access and quality of healthcare while driving down the tax burden we’ve heard so much about.

Under the old system, doctors and hospitals were rewarded for increased visits, tests and procedures they ordered. More testing and appointments meant more income for the provider, without necessarily resulting in better care for the patient. This makes no sense. Doctors should be paid based on how well they treat a patient, and be relieved of the pressure to spend less time with each person per visit.

Despite Republican complaints, the overall increase in the cost of healthcare has lessened under the ACA, though premiums have gone up, especially for those whose previous plans provided insufficient coverage.

GOING FORWARD: MORE CHOICE IN RURAL AREAS

The number of people without any health insurance and healthcare facilities continues to be highest in rural areas. Sophisticated medical technology and drug regimens have become standard components of basic health care in the 21st century. But in rural areas like Central Virginia, lack of community health centers mean that our citizens have a hard time with physical access to a doctor, let alone access to the highest standard of care.

The current Congress has grossly endangered basic funding for community health and CHIP – the Medicaid program for children. This widens the gap between the haves and the have-nots, when those very patients who are most vulnerable should be among our highest priorities. Instead, they stand to be the first to lose their footing due to the dysfunction in Congress. Dan will work to increase the presence of community health centers throughout the 7th District to ensure that a doctor’s appointment is within reasonable distance, and that medical help is within reach in case of an emergency.

THE NEXT FRONTIER: A PUBLIC OPTION

As your representative in Congress, Dan will work to improve and strengthen the Affordable Care Act, which most Virginians support.

Dan will work to ensure that federal premiums for low-income earners are protected, giving hard-working people confidence that they can afford their insurance premiums month over month. This provides stability in a market where people are quickly losing insurance options and facing steep increases in premiums that are already way too high.

Dan also believes in lowering the Medicare age requirement. We must sensibly apply our existing resources to increase Medicare eligibility to provide access to insurance through a “Public Option” in addition to Medicaid expansion in Virginia. This would reduce the number of underinsured and uninsured even further, creating competition in the market. Expanding Medicaid would particularly assist nursing homes, 64% of which rely on it to stay in business.

By giving people choices between a private and a federal insurance option, we bring premiums within reach for our friends and neighbors in Central Virginia.


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OPIOIDS/ADDICTION

In 2016, the most recent year for which there is data currently available, there were over 1,400 drug-related deaths in Virginia. This constitutes a 38 percent increase from 2015. Dan supports declaring the opioid epidemic a national emergency through the Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, a move which would free up more funding than President Trump’s decision only to invoke the Public Health Service Act.

Dan supports family and community programs, alternative pain treatment, and preventing the over-prescription of opioids. This last point is critical, we must hold those that habitually over-prescribe accountable.

Dan knows that this epidemic affects Virginians of all ages. Babies can be born addicted to opioids. Families can be torn apart. This situation calls for compassion and courage, not criminalization of the addicted. 

VETERANS

As a veteran with close to 25 years of service in the United States Marine Corps, Dan understands the challenges that veterans face and will make caring for veterans a top priority.

Our nation’s veterans have earned the right to quality and accessible healthcare. Dan is committed to assuring that the VA continues to improve its system by providing timely and geographically convenient appointments, reducing the amount of bureaucratic processes that cause confusion and frustration, and guaranteeing unfettered access to mental health services.

Dan believes that disabled veterans and their spouses should receive all of the promised benefits that they have earned and deserve. He will fight for the elimination of the “widow’s tax” to ease the burden on the surviving spouse when their veteran dies from service-related injuries or illness.

Dan will bring much-needed support to veterans returning home with mental health issues, such as post-traumatic stress syndrome and depression. He will work to remove barriers to mental health services and commit to funding mental health research, especially research related to traumatic brain injury. Dan will fight to ensure that all service personnel who are discharged with service-related mental health issues have access to VA care. He will advocate for programs that address substance abuse, suicide, and homelessness among veterans of every generation.

Dan understands that any program that supports our disabled veterans must recognize the vital role of families in the recovery process and include resources to educate and support families, especially caregivers.

As a veteran, Dan knows that transitioning after years of military service is often difficult and he will support programs that provide job training, employment opportunities, and education benefits for veterans and their families. Dan believes it is important to recognize and promote the resilience and potential for post-traumatic growth in combat veterans and will work to educate potential employers about the unique value veterans can bring to their business.


 

JOBS & ECONOMY: THE SUPPORT AND SAFETY OF AMERICAN WORKERS

Too many middle-class Virginians are working harder and making less. Many two-income families can barely get by, much less save for retirement, help their ailing parents and pay for their kids’ college tuition.

We don’t need more tax loopholes for the super-rich. Dan believes we need progressive tax reform that promotes growth and investment, spurs new wealth-creating innovation, ensures corporations play by the same rules, and opens opportunities for our great Virginia businesses to take their products and expertise around the country and around the world. We also need to encourage the growth of unions, because it is no coincidence that wages have gone down as union membership has declined. And speaking of wages, we need to put policies in place that ensure all folks can earn a livable wage if they are willing to put in the work. 

Headlines may tell a story of low unemployment and record stock prices, but many in Central Virginia are still left out of the modern economy. There are a few common-sense steps we can take that will ensure the economy works for everybody.

  1. It is imperative that we raise the minimum wage. Virginia’s minimum wage is currently the same as the federal minimum wage: $7.25 an hour. Nobody who works full time should be one broken bone or busted car part away from the poverty line. Everybody should have the realistic option to save at least a little bit of money. Dan is committed to fighting for livable wages.

  2. Immediately, we need to expand broadband to every corner of the district. Our building trades are equipped to lay the lines and build the towers necessary to make that a reality.

  3. We should use Project Labor Agreements where possible to ensure that our workers are given a fair return for their labor.

  4. We need to stiffen penalties on employers who are committing wage theft.

  5. Apprenticeship programs should be encouraged to expand, to give job skills to Virginians who are willing to work.

Up until the moment Dan announced for Congress, he was an active advocate for increased aviation safety on behalf of the Air Line Pilots Association. As your representative, Dan will support legislation that protects and promotes safe travel for the public by protecting the lives and livelihoods of passengers and our professional aircrews. When we make our planes and aviation enterprises safer, we keep everyone safer. When we responsibly counter economic malpractice in the airline marketplace that undercuts the legitimate competition and keep the door closed on foreign ownership of our essential domestic carriers, we maintain proper fair trade conditions for good American jobs.


 

IMPROVING EDUCATION

For too many people, the distance between the American Dream and American reality is too great. Education has never been more essential for closing that distance than it is today.

Dan is a proud product of Madison County Public Schools. He supports smaller class sizes, competitive teacher pay, universal pre-K, making sure that standardized tests challenge a student's ability to think critically instead of just memorize, and replacing the school-to-prison pipeline with a school-to-opportunity pipeline.

Dan believes that vocational programs and apprenticeships should be freely available wherever possible, and that price should never be a problem to anyone attending a two- or four-year college.

One way that Dan would like to address student debt is by expanding and enhancing the public service loan forgiveness programs that America already has. Currently, if you work in public service for ten years, your student loans are forgiven. To cultivate a national spirit of service, Dan would support legislation that cuts that number to four years.

ENSURING EQUAL RIGHTS FOR ALL AMERICANS

The American Dream ought to be the exclusive property of everybody. Any infringement on the civil rights of our fellow citizens puts more distance between people’s dreams and people’s days.

Dan will never hesitate to stand up against the forces of hate and fear, and to stand up for the right of every American to be treated equally under the law. Dan supports marriage equality, reproductive healthcare access, the Equal Rights Amendment, and criminal justice reform including restorative justice and the decriminalization of marijuana.

DOING RIGHT BY AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES

In America, nobody should be left behind. The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 sought an end to “the unjustified segregation and exclusion of persons with disabilities from the mainstream of American life.” Over a quarter of a century later, we still have yet to achieve that goal.

Students with disabilities make up only a small portion of the national student population, but they constitute the overwhelming majority of students who are forcibly restrained and isolated while in school. Disciplinary responses which are disproportionate to a given offense should not be tolerated. Every child in our country deserves a school where they can learn safely and be treated respectfully.

Nearly one in five Americans has some degree of disability. Adults with disabilities should be included and not excluded, supported and not undermined, at every opportunity.

GUN VIOLENCE PREVENTION

Dan is a hunter, a Marine veteran, and served on the pistol and rifle team at Quantico. He supports the rights of gun owners, the large majority of whom are law-abiding citizens. He also knows that America faced 346 mass shootings in 2017, and that we have to do something to lower that number.

Dan supports enacting universal background checks, as well as advancing common-sense reforms. We need to keep guns away from terrorists, criminals, physical or psychological abusers, and the severely mentally ill.

PROTECTING THE ENVIRONMENT

Five months before he was assassinated, President Kennedy declared that “in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children's future. And we are all mortal.”

If we protect our planet, we protect ourselves. Every year, more people die from pollution than from car wrecks, homicide, and suicide combined. Any politician who refuses to admit that truth and reckon with it is endangering American lives and American jobs.

Getting it right on the environment will aid the economy. A June 2017 report from Business Insider makes this clear:

As of November 2016, the American solar industry employed 260,077 workers. This is an increase of 24.5% from 2015, with a growth rate that is 17 times faster than the United States economy as a whole.”

In 2018, Virginia has more jobs in solar energy than in coal. Dan knows that green energy jobs are a gateway to revitalizing the middle class, and he supports them wholeheartedly.

TECHNOLOGY AND INTERNET

Access to broadband internet or better is essential in the modern economic and educational realm. Dan supports bringing broadband to every corner of the 7th District. Our building trades are equipped to lay the lines and build the towers necessary to make that a reality. Dan is also a strong supporter of net neutrality. He supports former President Obama’s call to reclassify internet service as a public utility.

 

“I am, somehow, less interested in the weight and convolutions of Einstein’s brain than in the near certainty that people of equal talent have lived and died in cotton fields and sweatshops.” – Stephen Jay Gould