Senate Republicans kill Virginia Medicare supplemental insurance bill

healthcareSenate Republicans killed Senator John S. Edwards’ (D-Roanoke) bill to provide Medicare supplemental insurance coverage to 112,000 Virginians with disabilities under the age of 65. The bill (SB 760) was reported yesterday from the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee with bipartisan support on a 9-2 vote (with 3 abstentions). However, today, the bill was re-referred on a party line vote. This means the bill is effectively dead for this session.

Six Republican senators voted to report the bill during yesterday’s Commerce and Labor Committee meeting after riveting, heartfelt testimony on the need for this legislation. However, all six  plus the two abstentions  subsequently switched their votes when the bill hit the Senate floor.

As a result of this action, these disabled Virginians will continue to be without any Medigap insurance. They are some of Virginia’s most vulnerable citizens. They have high medical and pharmaceutical costs not covered by Medicare. According to his testimony, one gentleman said he had to choose between paying for his pharmaceuticals or saving his home.

“We have a duty to care for all of our fellow Virginians,” said Senator Edwards following the vote, “This bill would have had a huge impact on the lives of those who are disabled and cannot afford the high medical and pharmaceutical costs not covered by Medicare. This measure would have provided relief to a subset of disabled Virginians. The bill was supported by AARP, Area Agencies on Aging, Virginia Poverty Law Center, and other groups concerned about providing insurance coverage for our disabled citizens.”

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