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Dr. Ibraheem Samirah for State Senate
Healthcare should be a human right. Unfortunately, quality healthcare in Virginia is too often a privilege for those who can afford it. Despite the fact that we live in a time of unprecedented prosperity, almost half of all Americans say that they or an immediate family member had to skip out on serious medical care in the past year because they could not afford it. I see cases of this every single day as a Dentist. The culprits of this suffering are private insurance companies, pharmaceutical interests, and large hospital networks that are more interested in making a profit than they are serving everyone.
In the 2020 legislative session, I was proud to be the only legislator to put forward a plan to provide affordable, universal healthcare coverage for all in Virginia. I also introduced a resolution calling on Congress to allow individual states to pursue their own single-payer healthcare system. Evidence from around the world shows that single-payer healthcare is the gold standard of delivering efficient, low-cost care without leaving anyone behind.
As the price of prescription drugs like insulin skyrocket nationwide, those who don’t have the money to afford it are forced to simply face their illness without pharmaceuticals. That is wrong. As Delegate, I cosponsored legislation that caps insulin copays at extremely affordable rates in Virginia. In Richmond, I helped lead the effort to crack down on Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) that hurt patients and pharmacies through bad business practices.
Investing in mental health services, especially in our public schools, needs to become a bipartisan objective in Virginia. I introduced legislation that would provide mental health break spaces in Virginia’s schools, so students have a safe space to decompress or deal with symptoms of their mental health condition. Alongside this, we need to make sure our services are accessible for people of all backgrounds, especially LGBTQ people, who suffer disproportionately from mental health issues. We also need to understand the direct correlation between mental health and poverty, discrimination, and isolation, and tackle those issues head-on.
Reproductive and contraceptive care is healthcare. Despite the pushback from MAGA Republicans, I will always be a champion for increased access to reproductive care services like abortion. In the General Assembly, we made great strides in rolling back unnecessary restrictions on the right to choose. Our task should now be to pursue true equity by ensuring that abortion is covered at no cost under health insurance plans.
In the House of Delegates, I was responsible for legislation that would allow pregnant Virginians to get their pregnancy covered despite the timing of insurance enrollment periods. I also brought forward a bill that would put greater emphasis on screening for pre- and post-natal depression for mothers when they visit their primary and specialty care providers.