LETTER TO THE EDITOR: One candidate has clear stance on health care

To the editor:

As a resident of Louisa County, mom of an 11-year-old, and a provider of mental health services, I am writing to encourage others to join me in supporting Abigail Spanberger to represent Viriginia’s 7th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.   

Spanberger has repeatedly demonstrated her commitment to supporting affordable, accessible health care for all citizens, including children, senior citizens, and young adults. This has included advocating that coverage remain available for those with pre-existing conditions, as well as for adults 26 years and younger.   

While Nick Freitas has made vague reference to protecting coverage for those with pre-existing conditions, he has failed to be clear on his plan for maintaining this coverage and has continued to support policies that do not cover pre-existing conditions. Not only has Freitas voted against Medicaid expansion, Politifact confirmed that he supports short-term, inexpensive health policies that do not include coverage of pre-existing conditions. Without these protections in place, all of us are at greater risk of difficulty in finding coverage and potentially faced with greater health costs.  

Health costs overall are typically reduced for those with insurance coverage.   Even though we pay for insurance and may have a co-payment or out-of-pocket expense for services, the charges are far less that they would be if we were not covered by that insurance plan.  

Health care costs impact all of us, sometimes when we’re least expecting them.  Access to insurance has allowed us to be proactive in managing care for our daughter. While generally healthy, she has had various medical issues that would be considered pre-existing conditions beginning when she was a baby. Pre-existing conditions blocking coverage access for a child is alarming at best. Prevention is far less costly than the intensive or emergency treatments that can come when issues are not identified early.  

As a mental health provider, I see daily the importance of access to insurance for those in their early 20s. Whether they are using their insurance to access traditional medical care, mental health services, or necessary prescriptions, the opportunity to remain on family insurance through age 26 allows young adults to more effectively find independence.   

We’ve yet to learn about the long-term impacts of COVID-19. Will prevalence of pre-existing conditions grow?  We don’t know. Coverage allowing preventive care and early treatment, whether for COVID-19 or other conditions, tends to reduce expenses overall. Protecting access to insurance coverage for those with pre-existing conditions is a critical piece of maintaining a strong and healthy community.  

Please consider the importance of access to insurance coverage for those you love. Even if your family is not faced with a pre-existing condition today, you don’t know what will change tomorrow. It’s stressful enough to be worried about the health of someone we love, especially a child. Knowing that insurance coverage is in place to reduce family costs allows us to worry less about the money and focus more on supporting the people we love.  

A vote for Abigail Spanberger will help to ensure that your family will be protected should something unexpected arise.  

Ann Tourangeau

Louisa

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