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Defending Current Health Care Protections

Written by Bruce Cruser

Bruce Cruser has been Executive Director of Mental Health Virginia since 2016, bringing a background in social work and community corrections, and many years of leadership experience in local and state government.

November 19, 2019

Mental Health America of Virginia was invited to Sen. Mark Warner’s (D-VA) November 15th roundtable on defending healthcare and protections for pre-existing conditions. Hosted by Richmond’s Health Brigade clinic, participants from health advocacy groups and clinic providers heard how pending legal action against the Affordable Care Act could put healthcare for hundreds of thousands of Virginians at risk.  

Many cheap alternative plans (the Senator’s term was “junk plans”) exclude mental health treatment. With increases in Virginia’s youth mental health problems and suicide rates, now is the time to move forward, not backward, in parity for physical and mental health care, and integrating mental health as part of everyone’s overall health. 

Participants told personal stories of multiple increases in prescription drug prices. They also heard how Veterans health care, as well as Medicaid, provide very little dental insurance, a priority for individuals taking medications for a serious mental illness. Despite the challenges, “I stay hopeful,” said Sen. Warner. “What you all do is really important.” 

U.S. Senator Mark Warner and Health Care Advocates at Richmond’s Health Brigade
(photo by Office of Sen. Warner)

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