December 12, 2013

Kaine Highlights Story Of ODU Student From Staunton At Press Conference On ACA Benefits For Children With Pre-Existing Conditions

WASHINGTON, D.C. – At a press conference on Capitol Hill today to highlight how the Affordable Care Act ensures up to 17 million children across the country, including 438,000 in Virginia, with pre-existing conditions are guaranteed health insurance, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine highlighted the story of Ashleigh Campbell, an 18-year-old Old Dominion University student from Staunton who was born with congenital heart disease and other serious medical conditions.

“Ashleigh was born with a number of very serious health conditions,” said Kaine. “She has been lucky enough to have insurance through her parents and excellent medical care at the University of Virginia. But she was always concerned about where she would go if she ever lost that protection or when it came time for her to get her own health insurance plan.”

Kaine explained that while he supports reforms to improve the Affordable Care Act, he strongly opposes efforts to repeal the legislation, which has protected children and young adults like Ashleigh by preventing insurers from denying them health coverage.

“This is a profoundly important moral issue,” said Kaine. “We’re going to work to reform anything that needs to be fixed- that’s what legislators do, more than pass new laws what we do is work on improving existing laws…Of all the reasons to support the ACA, there is no reason more powerful than the ban on discrimination against people with pre-existing conditions.”

Kaine concluded his speech by sharing a quote from Ashleigh.

“I want people to stop looking at the politics. People like me can’t survive without health care. I wish more people would understand.  It would be almost impossible for me to get health insurance without this protection.” Ashleigh said.

Prior to the Affordable Care Act, in the vast majority of states, insurance companies in the individual and small group markets could deny coverage, charge higher premiums, and/or limit benefits to individuals based on pre-existing conditions, which are health conditions – like heart disease, cancer, asthma, diabetes or high blood pressure – that exist before someone applies for or enrolls in a new health policy. Since 2010, thanks to the health care law, up to 17 million children with pre-existing conditions – including up to 438,000 in Virginia – can no longer be denied insurance coverage because of their health. And, beginning in January 2014, this protection will extend to adults.