McClellan announces plan to equitably rebuild healthcare system
Jennifer McClellan on Thursday announced her plan to make Virginia a beacon for quality healthcare. In the plan, McClellan, a state senator running for the Democratic Party nomination for governor, lays out her agenda to make the healthcare system more equitable, more accessible, and more affordable as Virginia begins to rebuild from the COVID-19 pandemic.
McClellan’s plan will provide healthcare coverage for 88,000 uninsured Virginia children, including 13,000 undocumented children, in order to build a more equitable health care system. She will also invest $30 million in maternal care to address the Black maternal mortality rate and deploy new Virginia Safe Communities grants to combat the high rates of LGBTQ+ youth suicide. These initiatives will ensure that no matter one’s income, zip code, gender, sexuality, or race, Virginians can get the care they deserve.
“Virginia has made major progress on healthcare, but we have a long way to go,” said McClellan. “COVID-19 exposed the inequities and vulnerabilities that already existed in our healthcare system. As senator, I passed the law to create Virginia’s Health Benefit exchange to lower costs and increase access to healthcare for all communities. As governor, I will make health care a top priority, rebuilding Virginia’s health safety nets and addressing vulnerabilities around access, cost, and quality.
“My health care agenda will close equity gaps in our health system and implement paid sick, medical, and family leave across the Commonwealth,” McClellan said. “I’ll expand coverage for 88,000 uninsured Virginia children and continue to be a champion for reproductive health by enshrining Roe v. Wade in our constitution. As governor, I’ll also make sure equitable mental and maternal care are priorities to address the disproportionate mortality rates in marginalized communities. Virginia will become a beacon for quality healthcare under a McClellan administration.”
McClellan will also prioritize mental health in the governor’s agenda. She will help Virginia lead the nation through reforming behavioral health access and quality by providing needs-based funding to localities, a new focus on behavioral health equity, and increased resources for crisis intervention.
McClellan also knows that reproductive access is critical to comprehensive health care. McClellan is endorsed by NARAL Pro Choice Virginia for her 15 years of work expanding reproductive access, passing the Reproductive Health Protection Act, repealing Republican-era TRAP laws, and removing the ban on abortion coverage for health insurance plans offered through the Health Benefits Exchange.
As governor, she’ll continue to protect and expand access to reproductive health by passing the Reproductive Health Equity Act and a Constitutional Amendment to enshrine the principle of Roe v. Wade.
Over the past decade, Virginians saw an 86.5 percent increase in out-of-pocket costs for employer-provided healthcare. As governor, McClellan will increase the oversight power of the Bureau of Insurance to rein in high health premiums and pharmaceutical costs. She will also create a Virginia Prescription Affordability Board to protect consumers and lower prescription costs.
McClellan’s agenda builds on her work delivering some of the most significant action on healthcare in Virginia history. She fought for more than five years to expand Medicaid, which provided health insurance to more than 500,000 Virginians. And in 2020, McClellan spearheaded the bill to create the Virginia Health Benefit Exchange under the Affordable Care Act to improve access to care, lower premiums, and improve efficiency of healthcare for approximately 230,000 Virginians.
- Rebuilding and reconstructing our health care and social safety nets following the COVID-19 Pandemic
- Closing access and equity gaps across health care systems in Virginia by expanding Telehealth options and scope of practice
- Acknowledging equity and social determinants of health by implementing the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) informed communities mandatory for behavioral and medical health.
- Investing $30 million to address the disproportionate maternal mortality rates among Black women by addressing the root causes of the maternal care inequity.
- Expanding coverage for all children in Virginia by raising Virginia’s child eligibility rate to 305% of the Federal Poverty Level and expanding access to state Medicaid eligibility for undocumented children up to the age of 18.
- Employing a culturally competent health workforce to build trust between medical professionals and the communities they serve, especially for low-income, Black and Brown communities.
- Increasing LGBTQ+ health rights by affirming the identity of individuals who are transgender, addressing the LGBTQ+ youth suicide crisis by requiring licensure boards to incorporate cultural competency training in health care worker licensure processes, and investing in new Virginia Safe Communities grants.
- Protecting and expanding reproductive health by implementing the Reproductive Health Equity Act so that EVERYONE has access to the full spectrum of affordable, quality reproductive health care; and working with the General Assembly to pass a constitutional amendment to enshrine the principles of Roe v. Wade into Virginia’s Constitution.
- Implementing the Virginia Health Benefit Exchange to improve coverage access, lower premiums, help offset premium costs for those who are not eligible to receive federal subsidies, and improve efficiency of health care for Virginians.
- Increasing accountability & transparency in health plans by increasing oversight power of the Bureau of Insurance (BOI) and rein in high health premiums and preventing high prescription drug prices.
- Championing prescription drug affordability by creating a Virginia Prescription Affordability Board (VPAB) under the Bureau of Insurance, which will serve as a safeguard against the high costs of prescription drugs for Virginians at the pharmacy counter.
- Improving Virginia managed care by creating the Medicaid Task Force and directing it to make recommendations for standardization, consistency, accountability and transparency that prioritize patient choice; protect and provide resources for Small, Minority, and Women-Owned (SWaM) providers; and increase access to quality care.
- Increasing Medicaid reimbursement rates by increasing funding and streamlining the process for Medicaid reimbursement rates to support continued enhancement and redesign of services while ensuring reimbursement rates match the cost of services.
- Reforming behavioral health care by promoting equity and addressing social determinants of health; strengthening the behavioral health workforce; focusing on early intervention, prevention, and wellness across the lifespan; implementing a trauma-informed crisis system; and improving accountability, quality, and oversight within the behavioral health system.