Health Care and Behavioral Health Care

Jenn’s Perspective

Jenn knows that too many people are one accident or illness away from economic devastation. Jenn also knows that access to quality health care is out of reach for too many Virginians. The Coronavirus crisis has further exposed the disparities in our health care system and the strains on our health care safety nets. As a legislator, Jenn has fought to expand access to high quality, affordable health care, including preventative, reproductive, and mental health care.

As Governor, Jenn will continue to make access to a high-quality, affordable, comprehensive health care system available to everyone – from our newborn Virginians to those 50 and older- while also protecting the sanctity of the doctor-patient relationship from undue government interference. Jenn will work to ensure that access to mental health and reproductive health resources are part of a comprehensive health care system.

Jenn’s Record

In the General Assembly, Jenn has worked tirelessly to address health care disparities and expand access to care and coverage for Virginians. Jenn has:

  • Created the Virginia Health Benefits Exchange under the Affordable Care Act, which will provide more affordable health insurance for approximately 300,000 Virginians
  • Led the fight for years to successfully expand Medicaid coverage to over 400,000 Virginians and has worked to expand services and reimbursement rates for providers
  • Worked to expand access to and lower the cost of prescription drugs and expand access to preventative, reproductive, behavioral, and long-term care for all Virginians while making the health care system easier to understand and navigate
  • Cosponsored legislation to improve health insurance coverage for families whose children have been diagnosed with autism 

As the first member of the House of Delegates to be pregnant while in office, Jenn has been a fierce advocate for protecting access to reproductive care and supports for new mothers. Jenn:

Over the course of her legislative career, Jenn has emphasized the need for increased investment, destigmatization and decriminalization of mental health. In the General Assembly, Jenn:

  • Supported the creation, implementation, and $5.3 million dollars in funding for the STEP- VA program designed to improve the quality of community behavioral services in 2017; and an additional $30.2 million for fiscal year 2022 for  STEP-VA, to address Accountability, Access, Quality, and Consistency across all Community Services Boards (CSBs) and to enable CSBs statewide to deliver, at a minimum, nine standard services plus care 
  • Patroned a landmark justice reform bill that will make the criminal justice system more equitable for individuals with mental illness, autism, or developmental/intellectual disabilities by allowing evidence of their conditions to be presented during hearings
  • Patroned legislation directing the Board of Education to review and update the Standards of Learning for students to include mental health
  • Supported $1.6 million in funding to establish the Behavioral Health Loan Repayment Program to help increase behavioral health providers by coordinated efforts to recruit and retain providers in the Commonwealth