The Virginia Consumer Healthcare Alliance is committed to leading a rational, constructive dialogue about healthcare across the Commonwealth. We believe that citizens deserve the opportunity to really be heard regarding what they want in their healthcare system. And each and every one of us in the Commonwealth deserves a serious conversation, worthy of the serious challenges we face.
Recently, a lot has changed in healthcare, and it has deeply affected the people of Virginia - our people and our politics. It has also deeply affected our wallets. Healthcare costs and insurance premiums continue to rise. The annual amount employers and workers pay for health insurance has risen at a rate higher than the increase in wages or inflation, and high-deductible insurance plans that require families to pay greater out-of-pocket costs have become increasingly prevalent. In short, people are paying more and getting less comprehensive benefits.
At the Virginia Consumer Healthcare Alliance, we seek to work towards establishing open lines of communication and collaboration between our states' leaders and our communities in order to effectively address immediate concerns and focusing on long term liabilities that also need attention.
The rising cost of health insurance is one such liability that impacts families and employers. Data from the State Corporation Commission’s Bureau of Insurance shows that from 2014-2019, average health insurance premium costs rose more than 140 percent. In addition to premiums, the out-of-pocket deductibles families pay for care continue to grow. A recent Kaiser Family Foundation analysis found that the average annual health insurance deductible for a single U.S. worker is $1,655, double the amount it was 10 years ago.
Those are statistics, but every statistic impacts real people. They are neighbors, they are family, and they are businesses across our state that are directly affected by changes in our healthcare system and its financing. Due to recent political history and the deeply personal nature of healthcare, Virginians are either rightly reticent to accept any more change or hold such a level of distrust that any attempt to even try to improve our system is met with fear and resistance.
These are not unfair reactions - but we must get past them and into a legitimate, fact-driven conversation.
We sincerely believe that the time has come for all of us to take a breath, identify the challenges of today and tomorrow, and then establish a real framework for future success that ensures all Virginians have access to affordable, quality healthcare in the communities they call home. A long term rational, constructive dialogue is the first step in creating a healthcare system that works for all Virginians, everywhere. We welcome you to this effort.