Congressman Connolly believes health care should be a right for all Americans. He is committed to expanding access and improving the quality of care for all his constituents. In order to advance this critical priority, Congressman Connolly will fight to defend the Federal Employee Health Benefits program (FEHBP), protect the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and guard against misguided efforts to weaken, privatize, or overhaul our nation's most successful health care programs in history, Medicare and Medicaid.
As a result of the Affordable Care Act, Virginia's uninsured rate has decreased to a historic low since 2010, providing Virginians access to health care coverage they would otherwise have been unable to obtain or afford. In addition to expanding coverage, the ACA protects millions of Virginians who, prior to the ACA's elimination of punitive annual and lifetime limits, lived under the threat of having their inadequate health insurance cut off if they got too sick. Insurance companies can no longer indiscriminately deny an individual coverage due to a pre-existing condition, and thanks to reforms that allow children to stay on their parent's health plan until the age of 26, nearly 59,000 young adults have health care coverage. The ACA also mandates coverage of many important services including mental health screenings, and free preventive care coverage, such as flu shots, cancer screenings, contraception, and mammograms.
Congressman Connolly strongly opposes partisan efforts to repeal the ACA. Republicans have relentlessly tried to sabotage the Affordable Care Act, including eliminating the individual mandate, cutting the Open Enrollment period in half, discontinuing much of the advertisement and outreach activities to boost ACA enrollment, encouraging short-term junk plans, and rescinding cost sharing reductions payments. These actions have resulted in higher premiums, fewer choices, and more uninsured Americans.
There is still much to do in ensuring that all Americans have access to health care and Congressman Connolly believes there are improvements to the ACA that can and should be adopted. He supports adding a public option, expanding tax credits to allow more individuals and families to qualify for subsidies, supporting state innovation to decrease the uninsured rate and lower premiums, and finding new ways to encourage younger Americans to join the marketplaces.
Congressman Connolly is a strong supporter of Medicaid expansion in Virginia, which provides health coverage for more than 450,000 Virginians and has dropped our uninsured rate to a historic low since the Governor signed it into law. He also fought for the reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which covers more than 200,000 children in the Commonwealth.
Additionally, he supported legislation to incentivize states to extend Medicaid coverage for new moms through the entire postpartum period. Medicaid is already the largest single payer of maternity care and is a powerful tool that we must deploy in our mission to improve maternal health. States that have expanded Medicaid have lower maternal mortality rates with 1.6 fewer maternal deaths per 100,000 women. Rep. Connolly also supports legislation like the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act, which takes a comprehensive approach to addressing the Black maternal mortality crisis through investments in data collection, social determinants of health, maternal behavioral health, the perinatal workforce, and community-based organizations.
Congressman Connolly is also fighting to make prescription drugs more affordable. In passing the ACA, we closed the Medicare prescription drug donut hole. As a senior member of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, Congressman Connolly is supporting investigations into egregious price-gouging by pharmaceutical companies and holding them accountable for indefensible skyrocketing drug costs. He supports reforms that will help lower prescription drug prices like empowering the Secretary of Health and Human Services to negotiate the price of drugs, creating an out-of-pocket limit on prescription drug costs for Medicare beneficiaries, and requiring drug manufacturers to issue a rebate back to Medicare if they increase prices faster than inflation. He supports reinvesting the savings from these reforms in dental, vision, and hearing benefits for Medicare beneficiaries and research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Since coming to Congress, he has championed greater investment in scientific and biomedical research that will lead to new breakthroughs in medicine and treatments. Each year, he has advocated for robust funding for the NIH and helped pass the 21st Century Cures Act, which would help unleash research and development.
Congressman Connolly steadfastly protects women’s freedom to make their own health care choices. He strongly opposes partisan efforts to have the Federal government control individual health care decisions, and he has stood up to those in Congress who have attacked organizations such as Planned Parenthood, which provide vital health services to millions of Americans of all genders, races, and ages. He supports legislation that ensures affordable abortion coverage and care for every woman, no matter their income, insurance, or home state. He also believes we must establish a national standard protecting the right to abortion access in every state by prohibiting unnecessary restrictions on women and providers that do not promote women’s health and safety, and that limit a woman’s access to abortion services.