Guaranteeing Health Care for All

An extraordinary number of Americans do not have basic access to the care they need because they either lack health insurance or are paying for inadequate coverage. The White House's response to this challenge has been to strip $50 billion dollars from the State Children's Health Insurance Program and to attempt to block grant Medicaid. Clearly, it's time for a different type of leadership.

Truly Universal Health Care

In a nation with so many highly skilled doctors and state-of-the-art hospitals, even one person having to choose between putting food on the table and buying medicine is one too many. I support universal health care and will fight for legislation to make that idea a reality.

Whenever discussing universal health care coverage, some worry about potential tax increases and an explosion of red tape. Such critics forget that the federal government already has a fully-funded program in place for providing top-quality health insurance: the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan. Giving uncovered individuals and businesses the option of buying into FEHBP will lower costs without having to create additional bureaucracy or pay initial start-up fees.

Health care is a central issue in the daily lives of citizens in Virginia's 11th Congressional District. My experience as a legislator has shown me how to achieve the consensus needed to change the current system. Access to medical facilities and programs greatly improves our communities. When elected to Congress, I will make universal health care a top priority.

Supporting the Disadvantaged

I believe we should provide assistance to those who need it most and will advocate for broadened participation in Medicare, Medicaid, and SCHIP. If we take steps to streamline the administration of these programs, we can offer heath care services to more Americans at minimal additional expense. Many of the programs need to be amended, such as Medicare's drug benefits policy. Part D is an example of the "pay-to-play" atmosphere that allowed special interests to write legislation that harms seniors and other taxpayers. I support allowing Medicare to negotiate the price of drugs and their availability with drug companies and insurance companies, to lower the program costs and widen access for millions of seniors.

Taking Better Care of Our Seniors

As Americans live longer, elder care has become a booming industry and is in desperate need of closer regulation. I will co-sponsor legislation mandating a minimum staff–to-patient ratio in nursing homes so that we can make sure our seniors are getting the care they deserve. No one should live in fear of abuse and neglect while in a nursing home.

Equality for Mental Health

I am a long-time supporter of increased funding for mental health services, and I feel that passing the Mental Health Parity Act of 2007 is an important step in reaching our goals. Unfortunately, that bill has been bottled up in Congress. If this important legislation does not make it through the House of Representatives, I will co-sponsor it in the 111th Congress. I will also push to open up more funding for the VA's mental health programs, to help our veterans recover from the stresses of combat.

Children Come First

During my time in Congress, I passed two separate health care measures into law. Both measures allowed for federally funded immunizations for millions of financially disadvantaged children. I've been a champion of increasing access to pre-natal care. I will continue to fight to provide our children with the best chance to experience all that life has to offer.

Fighting for Women

Throughout my career, I have strived to get women's health issues the attention they deserve. Whether it's been strengthening laws against domestic violence or pushing for reproductive health, I've taken a leadership role where others were content to sit on the sidelines.

I have always stressed the value of preventative care, and women have more options than ever in that area. I will work to increase access to the HPV vaccine and screenings for breast and cervical cancer.