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REBUILDING OUR COMMONWEALTH’S HEALTH & ECONOMY

Sam is a small business owner and Vice Chair of the Committee on Health, Welfare, and Institutions. His ten years of experience in health care management and eight years in the General Assembly passing legislation to expand health care have prepared him to be a Lieutenant Governor that brings Virginia back from this crisis stronger than ever.

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THE PROBLEM

Nearly 700,000 Virginians are uninsured. Provider shortages continue to worsen as the pandemic drags on. Many providers have left medicine or retired due to COVID, leaving a huge gap in care during a desperate time. In rural areas, like Appalachia, the poverty rate can be more than 50 percent higher than other parts of Virginia, leading to even higher rates of illnesses known to worsen COVID symptoms. People literally have to choose between putting food on the table and taking their medication. In fact, nearly 1 in 4 Virginians reported that they’ve rationed or skipped a medication dose because they simply couldn’t afford it. 

 

Since the pandemic, Virginia’s unemployment rate surged, leaving thousands without the means to keep their families fed and healthy. Many of those workers were women. We saw on a huge scale the effects of food deserts and medically underserved communities. Small businesses took an especially hard hit despite federal efforts like the Paycheck Protection Program. 

 

To make matters worse, many renters feared looming evictions and unpaid utility bills that will soon come due. Tenants can seek protection from eviction through a federal moratorium, but the protection isn’t automatic. 

 

The pandemic is an opportunity to address Virginia’s growing economic and health care and crises. As we craft our COVID recovery plan, we must include measures to expand health care access while uplifting small businesses and workers. 

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HOW TO DISCUSS

  • Health care is a human right. All Virginians deserve access to affordable, quality health care. Preventative care is known to be cheaper in the long-run and prevents expensive emergency medical situations. 

  • Prescriptions should be affordable. No one should have to skip their medication because they can’t afford it just so pharmaceutical companies and pharmaceutical middlemen can continue making outrageous profits.

  • Someone’s zip code shouldn’t determine the quality of their medical care. Incentivizing providers to expand to rural areas will keep our communities healthy while bringing good-paying jobs with benefits. 

 

  • Protect working families. Placing a hold on all evictions during a pandemic should be a top priority. We can restore people’s dignity by ensuring they will have a roof over their heads when times get tough.

 

  • Help small businesses recover and thrive. Small businesses and their workers are what make our communities and Main Streets unique. They should be at the heart of every recovery plan – not big corporations.

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POLICY SOLUTIONS

MAKE HEALTH CARE ACCESSIBLE AND AFFORDABLE FOR EVERYONE

  1. People’s Platform Policy – Implement A Statewide Buy-In (Public Option). There’s a group of Virginians who don’t qualify for state-run insurance, but also can’t afford private insurance plans. Instituting a statewide buy-in would allow those individuals to buy coverage through a state plan. Currently there are close to 2 million Virginians on state plans. Sam will fight for all Virginians to have a buy-in option. (Jordan, Rocky Mount)
     

  2. People’s Platform Policy – Create Rural Health Care Jobs And Access. Rural areas are significantly underserved when it comes to medical provider access. Sam sponsored a budget amendment that brings UVA’s Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) program to Wise County. Sam will continue to push for rural health equity across Virginia through unique, job-creating programs like UVA’s FNP. (Joshua, Blacksburg) 
     

  3. Protect Our Frontline Workers And Health Care Providers. Nurses, doctors, and medical staff shouldn’t worry about getting sick at work because their employer didn’t have enough personal protective equipment (PPE). Sam will push to ensure all frontline workers have enough PPE, and he plans to increase access to mental health care for those medical providers tragically touched by COVID.
     

  4. Increasing Access to Health Care Providers. Virginia has unnecessary barriers for many medical professionals who could offer crucial medical care during the pandemic. Sam sponsored bills that have been signed into law that expand the scope of practice for physician assistants and pharmacists while maintaining patient safety and quality of care. As Lieutenant Governor, Sam will push to eliminate barriers for people to get the medical attention they need through increased provider access. 
     

  5. Create A Drug Price Affordability Board. The rising cost of prescriptions is a crisis, and we need regulators in Richmond whose full-time job is to ensure Virginians and the Commonwealth aren’t being ripped off. The drug price affordability board will review the cost of drugs purchased by the state and take action when prices increase, including asking for justification and setting price caps. 
     

  6. Lower Insurance Premiums Through Reinsurance. Offering reinsurance programs would drastically lower premium costs for Virginians. Through reinsurance, the most expensive claims are covered, leaving a lower cost for premium payers to cover. 

PROTECT WORKING FAMILIES

 

  1. Utility Shut-off Protections. Nobody should have their lights or heat turned off during a pandemic. Public utilities have the financial and physical ability to avoid shut-offs due to outstanding bills. Sam supports waiving these unpaid bills for the unemployed and family caregivers who can’t work.
     

  2. Ensure All Workers Have Paid Family And Medical Leave. Workers need the opportunity to take paid leave to receive treatment for a serious illness, support a sick family member, or care for a new child. Paid leave means not having to choose between your family and your job, especially during the COVID pandemic. 
     

  3. Expand Access To Sick Leave. After a decade of experience working in health care, and becoming Vice-Chair of the Health, Welfare and Institutions Committee, Sam understands that we need empowering solutions. Health care is more than just the right to be insured. Every worker must be afforded sick leave to go to the doctor to care for themselves or family members.
     

  4. Quality Child Care For Every Kid. Too many parents struggle to find safe, affordable and enriching child care, especially for children 0 to 5 years of age—and that has disproportionately been filled by women and mothers whose caregiving goes unpaid. To correct this going forward and create a stronger foundation for the future, Virginia must increase access to the Child Care Subsidy Program to maximize the use of federal block grant funding.  The Virginia Preschool Initiative (VPI) must be expanded to include all 3 and 4-year-olds. Child care doesn’t stop at kindergarten. We must ensure that parents with school age children have access to affordable, high-quality after-school child care. Every Virginia family should be awarded a tax credit to ensure access to affordable child care. 
     

  5. Institute Fair Scheduling. Most low-wage workers have little control over their working hours. Service industry work schedules are erratic. As seen in other parts of the country, fair scheduling would require businesses to have predictable schedules, opportunities to work enough hours for a livable paycheck, and healthy schedules with time to sleep, commute, and care for yourself and your family.

HELP MAIN STREET BUSINESSES THRIVE

 

  1. People’s Platform Policy – Tax Rebates For Main Street Businesses. Small businesses and micro-businesses were hit especially hard by the pandemic. Even with the Paycheck Protection Program, many business owners had to lay off staff. A tax rebate for small businesses up to $25,000 would put money back in the hands of workers rather than large corporations. (Andrew, Fairfax)
     

  2. Increase Rebuild VA Grant Funding. As part of his campaign for Lieutenant Governor, Sam has met with small business owners from Lee County to the Eastern Shore and entrepreneurs from Martinsville to Herndon, and understands their struggles brought on by this pandemic. Increasing access and funding to the governor’s Rebuild VA program would quickly get cash into the hands of small business owners and their workers. Small businesses and entrepreneurship are critical avenues for economic mobility, especially for minority and women entrepreneurs. Sam will fight to eliminate barriers to  Rebuild VA and other grant programs and help our community businesses get back on their feet. 
     

  3. Level An Increasingly Unfair Playing Field With Large Corporations. Virginia is home to many large, multistate corporations that are not paying their fair share for the infrastructure and resources they utilize. These multi-state corporations continue to shift their tax burdens to other states, costing Virginia critical revenue and providing them an advantage over small businesses without the same resources. We can see how much tax avoidance from large corporations has cost our Commonwealth: Virginia’s corporate income tax provided 15 percent of Virginia’s income tax revenue in 1980 compared to just 6 percent in 2016, according to the Commonwealth Institute. We need to update Virginia’s reporting requirements to make this kind of tax avoidance more difficult for the big corporations that know how to bend the rules in their favor.

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540-904-6905

info@sam4va.com

P.O. Box 13842

Roanoke, VA 24037

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 Paid for and Authorized by Rasoul Works for Virginia.

© 2020-2021 Rasoul Works for Virginia

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