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 women or anybody else and their 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.
Finally, Dan believes we must pass Tim Kaine’s “Medicare-X” program as soon as possible. As reported by the Washington Post, Senator Kaine’s plan would “allow anyone to buy into a publicly provided plan using the network of Medicare providers and physicians, at similar rates, with lower-income workers receiving tax credits for the plan.”