As Republicans continue their efforts to tear down the Affordable Care Act, rural areas are disproportionately at risk, with many in danger of losing access to essential health care services if Medicaid funding is cut. Candidate for Virginia’s 5th congressional district, Dr. Cameron Webb, joined Delegate Chris Hurst (D-Blacksburg), Dr. Makunda Abdul-Mbacke, an OB-GYN from Martinsville, VA, and Krista Davidson, an RN from Roanoke to discuss rural health care and the COVID-19 pandemic. The group touched on the impact the Affordable Care Act has had on Virginians, including providing coverage for an additional 470,000 Virginians through Medicaid expansion. They discussed the importance of building on the ACA through increased services for rural areas, including investing in tele-health and broadband. A full recording of the conversation can be streamed here.
"What people often lose sight of is that in the 5th Congressional district, the largest employer is the health care sector….When these hospitals close, it reverberates. It’s not just a loss of health care access, it’s a loss of economic resources, it’s a loss of jobs, the loss of a lifeblood for a community,”said Dr. Cameron Webb, candidate for Virginia’s 5th Congressional District. “I’m on the Medicaid board in Virginia, and we are all proud of the Medicaid expansion and the nearly 470,000 Virginians who got coverage, but I want to put it in context of this pandemic. Because during COVID, when people are losing jobs, when employers aren’t able to provide coverage for lots of reasons, 136,000 Virginians gained coverage through Medicaid. Without it, they would have been in a really tough spot.”
"The most important issue on the ballot this year is health care...The Roanoke and Alleghany districts are seeing the largest outbreak of COVID since the pandemic started, and rural hospitals have limited capacity….We need people who are going to be in Washington and Richmond doing the job to make sure we deal with this pandemic until we get a vaccine in a mature way….We know what can happen with a Democratic majority to improve health care outcomes because we’ve seen it in Virginia -- we’ve expanded Medicaid...Rural hospitals need Medicaid coverage as a lifeline to keep them afloat.”said Delegate Chris Hurst (D-Blacksburg).
"What we tend to see in rural areas is late diagnoses for almost everything you can think of….When we have the Affordable Care Act, we start seeing women when you can really make a difference...Having the Affordable Care Act in this area I think has made a real difference in life expectancy and care,” said Dr. Makunda Abdul-Mbacke, MD, MPH, FACOG, board certified OB-GYN from Martinsville, VA.
"I'm the mother of a child with a genetic bleeding disorder. Bleeding disorders affect about 400 people in Virginia, and they are lifelong and life-threatening. If the ACA is struck down which we fear this fall, we could lose important protections like the banning of lifetime caps. Some families I know have medical costs that go over a million dollars a year, and that’s just for medication alone. We could lose access to specialists that we see. Losing the ACA would be detrimental to our community and a lot of Virginians.” said Krista Davidson, RN, BSN, CHPN (Certified Hospice and Palliative Care Nurse) from Roanoke.