Your healthcare and reproductive rights are on the line in 2024, Virginia congressman warns

Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., the ranking member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, prepares to testify before the House Rules Committee as Republicans advance the "Parents Bill of Rights Act," at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, March 22, 2023. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

By Amie Knowles

March 11, 2024

Rep. Bobby Scott, a Democrat serving the Hampton Roads region, took part in a press conference on Friday discussing the Biden administration’s health care accomplishments and the president’s State of the Union address. 

Joined fellow Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. from New Jersey and Sen. Peter Welch from Vermont, Scott touted Biden’s work to expand access to the Affordable Care Act during the virtual press conference hosted by Protect Our Care, a social welfare nonprofit. 

There’s “much to celebrate regarding our progress on improving access to affordable health care,” Scott said.

During the 2024 open enrollment period for health insurance coverage through the ACA marketplace, a record breaking 21.3 million people signed up for plans, including more than 396,000 Virginians. In contrast, in 2021, the year before Biden took office, only about 12 million people signed up for marketplace plans. 

Scottt noted that although there have been multiple Republican attempts to sabotage the ACA, the policy is nearly 14 years strong and is doing what it intended to do: Protect people with pre-existing conditions, increase access to health care, and make coverage more affordable.

“Joe Biden’s a health care president,” Leslie Dach, chair of Protect our Care, said. “It’s not by accident that health care was the first issue he turned to when he got to [those] two sections of his speech. That’s because health care matters to every American.”

Dach noted that health care is of multi-fold importance to Americans, calling it a “kitchen table,” “economic,” and life-altering issue. 

The chair praised a number of the many national health care accomplishments made over the past three years under Democratic leadership.

“Medicare has the power to lower drug prices. Drug companies cannot increase prices faster than inflation without paying a penalty. Out of pocket caps are set at $2,000 a year. Essential vaccines are free. And insulin is capped at $35 a month,” Dach said.

Many of the changes implemented during Biden’s first term positively impacted elderly individuals on lower and/or fixed incomes.

“Seniors can go to bed at night knowing they won’t have to choose between filling their prescriptions and filling their refrigerator,” Dach said. “They will live healthier lives, and they’ll have the economic breathing room they need and deserve.”

The president recently announced new steps he’s taking to lower prescription drug and health care costs and expand access to health care for more Americans, including efforts to keep health insurance premiums low, expand access to mental health care coverage, and protect Americans from getting ripped off.

“As the president made clear, we have work to do. First, we must continue to expand access to comprehensive care, which includes a full range of reproductive health care services,” Scott said. “Since the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, we’ve seen relentless attacks on reproductive freedom across the country, including the most recent efforts to restrict access to in vitro fertilization. That is of particular concern to me, as the first in vitro fertilization baby was born in my district, in Norfolk, Virginia.” 

Scott also noted the importance of protecting consumer benefits, like preventive services without cost sharing. He also urged doing more to lower costs for consumers.

Dach, meanwhile, took the opportunity to highlight the stakes of the 2024 election. 

“The contrast with Republicans, Donald Trump, could not be clearer,” Dach said. “While Democrats are continuing to fight to expand benefits, Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans in the House are trying to take it all away: Dismantle reproductive rights, women’s access to contraception, slash Medicare and Medicaid, reverse coverage gains, and raise drug costs for the American people.”

For those seeking to make a meaningful impact on important issues, Scott urged voters to go to the polls this fall. 

“I think the best thing that Virginians can do to support affordable medications and reproductive rights is to vote,” Scott said. “We have primaries coming up in June, and we have [the] general election in November. [S]elect the candidates that have the right positions on those issues.”

  • Amie Knowles

    Amie is Dogwood's community editor. She has been in journalism for several years, winning multiple awards from the Virginia Press Association for news and features content. A lifelong Virginia resident, her work has appeared in the Martinsville Bulletin, Danville Register & Bee and NWNC Magazine.


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