VIRGINIA MAIN STREET ALLIANCE UPDATE #8, May 24, 2011
The Virginia Health Reform Initiative (VHRI), the governor appointed task force that is overseeing health care reform, will be meeting on Thursday, May 26 in Richmond at the Department of Medical Assistance Services, 600 East Broad Street, Richmond, Conference Room 7a and 7b, from 10:00 am until 2:00 pm. They will be discussing the governance of the state Health Insurance Exchange at this meeting. For more information go to http://www.hhr.virginia.gov/initiatives/healthreform/.
The Commonwealth Institute has a good background piece on the Health Insurance Exchange. It is available at http://thecommonwealthinstitute.org/Portals/16/Health/healthexchanges.jan.10.v3.lowres.pdf
The Obama Administration has launched a new program to encourage small businesses. The new program is called Start Up America and is part of a wide effort to get more money into small business. Details of the plan and link to similar programs can be seen at http://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/startup-america .
The Virginia Main Street Alliance is a project of Virginia Organizing, a statewide citizens group. Virginia Organizing will be holding its annual meeting in Richmond on Saturday, August 13. VMSA members are encouraged to attend this event.
On May 10 the US Court of Appeals heard two cases on health care reform. Prior to the hearing Kevin Wilson, a Richmond restaurant owner, spoke at press conference with other supporters of the health care law. Kevin noted how his business has benefitted from the tax credits for having health care and was quoted on National Public Radio saying, "This has allowed me to reinvest in equipment and maintenance, which would have otherwise been impossible in this economy". No decision on the two cases is expected for several weeks.
In the survey we have been doing with businesses we are finding strong support for keeping the standard that requires health insurance companies to spend at least 80% of the dollars they collect in premiums on actual health care. While Virginia is not pursuing a waiver (see http://www.scc.virginia.gov/boi/cons/files/mlr_comm.pdf ), there is still a fight in the US Congress over what can be included in “health care” costs. You can contact your senators at: www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm?State=VA You can contact your representatives at: https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml
You can take the Virginia Main Street Alliance Survey at: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/online-bb.
As part of the transition to covering people with pre-existing conditions, the federal government has set up a Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan in Virginia. Anyone who has been uninsured for at least six months and has been turned down because of a pre-existing condition can purchase health insurance through this plan. Monthly premiums run from $156 to $518.
Go to http://www.healthcare.gov/law/provisions/preexisting/index.html for more information.
Virginia Main Street Alliance, A Project of Virginia Organizing