Every family deserves the peace of mind that comes along with having health insurance. Every small business should be allowed to focus on executing its business plan rather than worrying about their employees' health insurance plans. Every working American should to be free to move jobs or start a new business without fear of losing their employer-based health insurance. But for too many members of our community, this is not the reality.

Many American families are one medical incident away from bankruptcy. The United States spends far more per capita on health care than any other industrialized nation. Corporate funded politicians have convinced people that only those who work should have health insurance. That's totally backwards. Having health insurance empowers people to work.

In 2018, the people of Virginia won a great victory when the Commonwealth expanded Medicaid. We reclaimed billions of our tax dollars from the federal government. We are now extending health insurance to nearly 400,000 more Virginians. We're giving our teachers and law enforcement officers long overdue raises. We are shoring up our reserve funds and solidifying our AAA bond rating. But we still have a long way to go.

I will fight for 5 improvements to our healthcare system in Virginia.

1) I will protect Virginians with preexisting conditions by abolishing junk health care plans.

2) I will hold the Bureau of Insurance accountable for doing its job in enforcing existing laws.

3) I will support the elimination of any Medicaid work requirements forced upon consumers.

4) I will support a public option in the ACA Individual Market.

5) I will support legislation to prevent surprise out-of-network billing for emergency and in-patient services.

Ultimately, though, we need to recognize that every American should have health insurance as a basic right. People's lives and health shouldn't depend on their wealth. We cannot go back to a time where people are denied coverage because of preexisting conditions. Our current system- one where too many are forced to go to emergency rooms after an illness or injury has gotten out of hand rather than seeking early treatment- is nonsensical. It costs more money to maintain the status quo than it would to provide universal health care. This is an easy decision. Providing universal health care is not only the right thing to do, it's the smart thing to do.