Virginia Consumer Healthcare Alliance

Join today and support quality, consumer centered healthcare in Virginia.


These are the personal healthcare stories your fellow Virginians have shared with us.

Past Business Owner now have Social Security Disability

As a small business owner I can tell you that is extremely hard to provide insurance that not only business owners but our employees can afford. Even employers with the best intentions, can hardly afford to successfully run a profitable business (Profitable enough for the owners to live as middle class citizens) and provide good insurance for their employees and themselves. It is a terrible situation. There should be some type of large group businesses can join to make insurance more affordable.

Now, I no longer have my business, but I have social Security Disability. While I was way younger than 62 when I got SSD, I was not able to get any kind of supplemental insurance to help out with my many medical costs. It is also very difficult to find Drs that will take Medicare. Medicare alone is not enough to help maintain your health as it should be. You are supposed to have a check up annually, but if the Dr finds anything wrong or you mention anything that is wrong, then it is coded as some other kind of visit than just an annual visit so the cost can be significantly more.

Also, almost everyone of us will have some type of pre-existing condition during our life time. Insurers must cover pre existing conditions for those who become fragile and in need of good care.

I honestly believe that congress should have the same health care that all of us are able to get. If they understood what our problems were with healthcare then they would vote very differently. Most of the people I know who have any knowledge of congressional health benefits feel the same way. It is outrageous that they get such premium healthcare, when they have the power to decide on our healthcare to a very large degree.

Carol Sharp Schwaber

Health Care For All: From Birth to Death

As a nurse with almost 37 years of experience, I advocate for safe, affordable, quality health care for all Americans. In working with Head Start Programs, I observed children and families with many health care needs. In working with adults at all stages of life, I saw many health care needs. As I reflect on my childhood I am thankful for the preventive health care services that were provided for me through Virginia’s health care system. America is Great! I believe that we can come together to provide health and wellness services that will promote positive social change in our families, communities, workplace and society as a whole.

Dr. Eunice M. Scott

Doctors not accepting Medicare

I became eligible for Medicare last year, and went for my yearly gynecology appointment. I was told that my gynecologist of 30 years does not accept Medicare. I was shocked & devastated. I have no gynecologist now, because the only ones that accept Medicare are men, and I don’t like men for that type of medicine. I would like to see a single payer healthcare system set up with prices that are standardized & payments to the doctors that are fair, so that situations like this do not happen.

Jacquelin Wadsworth

Prescription denial by insurance companies

I am a 54 year old female who has suffered with severe pain for more than 10 years. I have kidney and liver disease that cannot be corrected without transplant. At this time that is not an option because both the kidneys and the liver are functioning well. My primary care physician has given me a narcotic for pain control. This is Percocet. That worked for the first several years. When I told my physician I was having an increase in pain he suggested I go to pain management. I agreed and they said I should try the medication Methadone. I refused. Too many people automatically assume you are a drug addict and not taking it for pain control. I seriously suffered in pain for two years before I gave in to pain management. Fast forward to last month I pick up my two prescriptions from my primary care physician that I have been filling for approximately 6 years and we go to fill them and the pharmacy tells me my insurance company no longer approve my Percocet. WHAT? I just filled it last month. I haven’t received anything in the mail that we have had a change to our policy. So I contact Federal Employee Blue Cross Blue Shield and they tell me my doctor needs to only fill out a pre-authorization form. My doctor did this and then the insurance company denies my Percocet. They make the decision it isn’t necessary. My doctor stated it is but the insurance company thinks they know better. They don’t know me better than my doctor. What right do they have to make a decision different than what my doctor says? Also, you CANNOT stop Percocet without weaning someone off if it. But the insurance company thinks they know everything. Obviously not! I pay for this insurance. It is about time they realize that the consumer is tired of being jerked around.

Kathy Prescott

Opiod pain medication saved my life!!

I keep hearing the bad stories regarding opiod pain pills and I think its time we all heard the benefits of pain medication and how it has improved my outlook on life and how my life is now better than ever. I have a bulging disc, arthritis in my lower back and hips, I have bone on bone knee caps and before pain medication and pain mgmt came into my life I was suffering tremendously, couldnt get out of bed and was close to ending my life due to pain. Then, a friend recommended I go to pain mgmt as it saved her life and made her painfree so I did. Now, I roll out of bed at the crack of dawn pain free, happy with life and just loving life wirhout pain. Ive been on pain pills for ten years, have not progtessed to heroin or any other drug and never over took my meds and wouldnt dream of sharing them with anyone !!!! If you were to take my meds away from me I would end up bedridden and miserable in pain. I do not take pain meds to get high. I take pain meds to be pain free. The low lifes who are looking for a buzz take heroin. Pain meds do not make u want to take heroin. This is such an untrue belief. Pain meds have saved my life, make me a happy and productive member of our society so please dont take them away from deserving patients My life is now PAIN
F R E E…thank you

Beverly Housman

Narcan means Mandatory Treatment

Dear Legislator,
Why not an act law that requires any individual that required Narcan to reverse the effects of opioid overdose to receive mandatory drug treatment. Opioid addicts are in precipitated withdrawal when dosed with Narcan. They are very sick and require medical supervision. This is the best time to seek help but many have no Financial Resources to obtain drug treatment. The state should have mandatory treatment for all those receiving Narcan from Emergency Services, this would give the addict the necessary time to get clean and begin a path to recovery. Many overdose patients simply feel so terrible and sick after Narcan that they will go to any length to get the opiates again. If we are funding Narcan to save their lives, the repercussion should be mandatory treatment.

Kathy Solenberger

Jeremy’s Story

My 23 yr old son Jeremy Cooper died on 3-25-16 from a Heroin Overdose that was laced with Fentanyl. Jeremy had been clean for 3 months. Before that he got treatment at an outpatient facility that treated opioid addiction with a medication called Methadone. Since Jeremy had no insurance, it was a big expense to him – and to me. The initial intake visit & physical was $200 and the medication was $15 a Day totaling $105 a Week Plus an additional $15 a week for a drug test. We spent $480 a month for his treatment and were unable to get Any help from the state since he was working part-time and made too much money! After 6 months, Jeremy got off the Methadone when he was arrested and had no choice but to suffer thru the terrible withdrawals in jail. Once he was out, he tried to stay clean with No Medicine since he couldn’t afford it & went to NA meetings & counseling.
Medicaid in VA may include the Counseling portion of substance abuse treatment IF you are Unemployed but Not the Medication. And if you Work, you don’t qualify to get any help with treatment!
There should be Free Health Care for Addicts who Want to get help No Matter What their income is & it should Include the Medication. We are in a National Opioid Overdose Epidemic & Something needs to be done ASAP to help treat these people so they can get well! Too Many People are Dying!
If my son had Free substance abuse treatment & medication, he very well may still be alive today – as well as Many others!

Laurie Blair

Alone in his van, my brother died of an opiate overdose. Years of pain medication taking the ultimate deadly toll.

I knew my older brother was addicted to opiates. A back injury and some dental problems made him the ideal candidate to be prescribed long term use of opiates to treat his pain. Those prescriptions did not come with the warning from the manufacturer that Long Term Use: cause DEATH. He attempted professional drug addiction rehabilitation on numerous occasions without success. After he died his wife told me she could take him to see a dentist in Alexandria, VA who would leave prescriptions to be picked up from the front desk attendant. No appointment necessary!! It will be 10 years since he passed in September of this year (2017). I wonder if the dentist ever thinks about him. I sure do.

Carolyn Timmons

Virginia Opiod Crisis/The Other Side

Dear representative, please don’t punish those who are chronically ill and in constant pain from autoimmune diseases for which there are no cures. My daughter who is disabled has suffered from Behcets Disease for 20 years. She is seeing a Pain Mgmt. doctor who os very good at regulating and overseeing her medications. Because some government official decided that she was taking too much opiates, she now has to take Methadone which causes her more pain, it’s more addictive and harder to come off of. All of this because of those who abuse drugs. You have thrown out the baby with the bathwater. You are causing more pain and suffering to those who play by the rules. You are playing God with people’s lives. People who are already have a hard life dealing with diseases. Cancer is a horrible disease but it isn’t the only one. I don’t believe taking opiates away from those who suffer a great deal of pain will accomplish your goal of lowering the death rate of those who overdose. They will get the drugs, even if they get them illegally. The ones who play by the rules are the ones who suffer.

Lorena Campbell

I have a lot of

I have a lot of health issues don’t have any health insurance i have tried to get help medicade and disability but in va. if your not leaglly blind or 62 or 65 years old you get nothing to me when you are disabled you are no matter what age you are you are this is crazy i also tried to get ssi ok ok my husbands income is low and it was $23 over the limit .and could not get it because that and married there something wrong with al this its crazy when u i have had a fushion in my back and need more back surgery i have problems with my neck because in the 90’s accident messed it up well i have fibromalygya and degenerative disc disease ,my back is in neck,under my bra,middle ,low back above the plates an screws,the dr. that done my surgery told me told me i had survere arthuritis l-4s1 need fixed when he fused l5-s1 one my thyroid is messed up i just a lot of feet problems the and hands fingers it swelled up also splitting tearing deep tares so painful at my heals and finger tips tears i have fissures ,lichen schlorsis and tears there also boarder line diabetic ,also acid reflux the back isues alone is bad enough and enough to disable ive been told by dr.’s that i need to be on my disabled ss.. any way just to let u no i do not have insurance my husband is disabled he only drawes his ss which is low income i do not draw anything i was raised up working at my dads saw mill and kfc then later on factory i just think its sad that i cant get help it takes over half of what we make for our medical each month on what we draw we have went several months in a row and not got groeries and not been able to pay our bills.we lost our home that we paid on for 17 years .thank you for the hearing me please make a difference and helping me ……..

lisa jean harris

People are dying!!

I live in rural Lee county and it is so very sad to see people who need medical attention and lives are being lost because we don’t have a hospital! We need an emergency/urgent care so people can be stabilized until they can be sent to bristol and/or kingsport. Millions of dollars from the tobacco commission was recently given to liberty university! It’s very troubling to me when the funds were supposed to be for public use or economic development! What better way to allocate funds when it saves lives? Please help our citizens by helping us to acquire an emergency room!
Thank you

Eleanor chadwell

Insurance companies have too much red tape to negotiate an appeal on denial of coverage.

Recently, my general practitioner requested a lab sleep study for me back in Nov/Dec. I have had an individual policy with Anthem BCBS since being laid off from a catalog/retail company in 2009. The rhetoric for the Affordable Healthcare Act was to keep same coverage with same insurance company. My first request for a lab sleep study was turned down because it was not medically necessary for me. I don’t have any history of heart or lung problems. What I was doing was leaving work at 10 pm and dozing off driving home on a back country road with no cell service. The second request was for a home study — not as accurate, but still effective as a lab study. This request was turned down because the doctor was out of network and their was comparable service closer to my home. This determination is made by zip code. It does not take into consideration distance as the crow flies, traffic conditions and other circumstances. As the crow flies, Luray is closer to my home. My husband is comfortable driving there. He does not drive to Charlottesville which was the approved location. Luray is 27 miles from my home and we can drive to that location with encountering 1 traffic light. A UVA location at Pantops was approved. At least a 45 miles ride, with numerous traffic lights and much more traffic. I have yet to contest the decision because it takes forever to interpret the fine print for the appeal, and finding the time to have at least 20 minute wait times to make the appeal by phone! I have not appealed the decision and still need the recommended sleep study. I was licensed as a Life & Health Insurance agent and worked with Anthem BCBS on a daily business. If I am intimidated by the process, I can’t imagine other folks struggling with it without having that kind of background.

Darlene M. Coppedge

Even Healthcare professionals can’t afford healthcare!

As a Physician Assistant in rural southwestern VA, working with the area’s ONLY board certified Gastroenterologist in the surrounding 5 counties, we see countless folks who come to us sick sick sick, only to find out the medicines they need are completely unaffordable. Many procedures the need to diagnose and/or treat their problems are just out of the question financially. The time I spend – on my days off usually- trying to get over rides or patient assistance programs approved, it’s just heartbreaking. But I cannot just not help these folks.

To then go to my physician to be diagnosed for the Flu (yes I got my shot last Sept) $70 office copay, $45 Flu test, $125 in blood work (to check HOW sick I was? Idk) then Tamiflu another $125….so hopefully I’d be up to only missing a few days at work and not a week, meaning 50-75 of *my* patients would need to be rescheduled…I would think “being in the business” I’d have one of the b”better” Medical insurances….but I don’t think there is any such thing anymore. Deductibles are in the $1000’s, even $10,000. I’m sure if I had a cataclysmic hospitalization I’d be very grateful I had insurance. But as for my basic health care? Even with my very very good job, it’s still extremely expensive.

It’s OK, I’ll get tires next month….ask the orthodontist to cut me some slack for a month….I can do that. How someone with minimum wage gets by? I have no idea.

Marcia P Love, PA-C


My nephew is 34 years old. He was raised in a loving Christian home and he is a good person with a big heart. He hurt his back at work and the doctor put him on OXYCONTIN. Yes, the drug of choice by the doctors these days. They seem to be distributing it like candy, even though they must know of its consequences. When my nephew’s prescription ran out, the doctor wouldn’t give him a refill. At which time, he was already addicted to this hideous drug. So he went to the streets to get it…which led him to heroin because it is easier to get and cheaper than OXY. My nephew went through his entire inheritance (another sad story), stole and pawned my sisters wedding rings, and stole her check book. He then started stealing copper tubing to sell in order to get the money for his fix. This behavior led him to the past 4 years in a state correction facility. When he gets out, he will have a hard time finding a job because he is labeled a ‘felon’. I am afraid he will get depressed again and give up. I can also tell you he is deathly afraid himself of coming out of prison and staying clean, because it is everywhere. Something needs to be done about this epidemic. Programs need to be put in place to help these people who become addicted. OXYCONTIN needs to be taken OFF THE MARKET!!!!!

Andrea Cuddy

Chronic Pain Advocate

I have lived with Chronic Pain since November 1998. I was T-boned by a Druken driver & 18 years later I continue to live in Chronic Neck Pain. I am able to function under the care of EVMS Pain Management & Percocet. My quality of life of being able to function most normal daily tasks. I have good days & bad days as most Chronic pain sufferes do. I am addicted physically & know that from continued use of Percocet. I am not addicted Psychologically.
If you take away the medicine rhat gives me quality of life as it does others. Well I see a life of less enjoyable moments of Family & Friends that is the core of our lives. I realise the Opiod epidemic our state as well as our Nation how effects our Communities & their loved ones.
I had “had” a so called friend who is on Medicade & Abuses the system horrifically. Turned away from Several Area Emergency Rooms for “Drug Seeking Behavior” yet still is given prescriptions of Opoids to abuse.
Please don’t deny those of us who take the medications to function on a somewhat normal life.
Instead Redmark those who Dr Shop or has been through numerous Pain Mgt. Facilities. They are the ones that make this epidemic. Educate healthcare workers & Doctors to Recognize the true signs of Addiction Pscyhological Addiction. Drug Seeking behaviors! All the checks & balances of counting pills randomly as well as urine screening. No patient other then cancer patients should receive more then a month supply of Pain meds until they’re proven to be valid before their Caregivers & Drs. I went through this & am allowed a 3 month supply after 3 month follow ups. Continue to with go pill counts & urine screens. Because I want Quality of Life. Thank you for the opportunity to speak on the behalf of Chronic Pain Sufferers.

Kathy A Johnson

Moved to VA, found out I had Cancer

ICancer I came to VA to help my father who has Parkinson’s and Dementia. I tried to restart my heal5h care but was told I had to wait. With no insurance I had to go to the Free Clinic who started my multiple meds
I am a Diabetic on insulin and have had Lymphoma twice, AML Leukemia a stroke after tx for AML, and a Bone Marrow Transplant so I was on several meds. They also checked out a lump I had found in my Breast and sent me straight to the Surgeon who sent me straight to the Oncologist. 6 months later I have been referred to a Surgeon and Oncologist at the UVA. On the same day I got my appts I got a call from the Financial office wanting to know how I was going to pay for this. I can’t get as I have Medicare part A, which to them means I’m Covered. So I can be an b inpatient in the hospital but can’t see a Dr. I got Medicare part D with financial help because I am on Soc Sec Disability which was Wonderful! But when I went to refill my meds, they told me the NP at the Free Clinic can’t write Medicare prescriptions. As near as I can tell moving to Virginia from California is going to kill me sooner rather than later. How is it I had a real Dr, total care, all my meds Covered, but coming to VA who doesn’t seem to be able to connects the dots is going to be the death of me. With advanced Breast Cancer we are racing the clock before I get Mets. I am at Stage IIIB. It only goes to IV. Then you are considered incurable and you will die. I need help. Now.

Cheryl Richardson

Life wasted and missing

I’m 54 my story is long to break it down i list one son to jail 18 years because adults wanted to make money the first man had a wife dying of cancer she was on oxycotin he gave my 15 to these until addicted then said pay me so my son needed money the next man hated me a neighbor so he helped my son sell dope.i say down after with my son and this man made about 100,000 using my son. Well my son’s habit should of looked him 3 car accidents and a habit that was horrible 200 yes 200 bags just to wake up then more during the day. He went to jail cause someone else bought his dope and have it to a friend who was drunk and on pills the kid hit his head had a concussion and died.the kid who gave it to him swore my son gave it to the kid who died and well they were rich I’m poor so my son is in jail but alive. My other son started using during this time and her used a needle stold every cent i had and toward the last week of life is saw his veins they were horrible.i had him in detox ten times plus in juvie jail so we tried to save him the disease was bad.the dope didn’t kill him his friend driving high killed him but if believe he would of died anyway. Now me i lived in pain my entire life yet the doctor’s never believed me they said depression i to young yet it finally had surgery and also had a friend who watched me to and move because they moved into my house it was a good feeling to have someone believe me but anyway i found doctors who gave me oxys for money not because it was pain never understood why no one believed me i couldn’t walk until it was 4 a and still had problems. Anyway I’m had oxys morphine fentanyl patches then insurance went crazy i had none one month then 2 months the doctor cost 200. And the meds cost another couple hundred i didn’t have that kind of money well in knew it was addicted by now and i knew the pain was bad so if tried dope it was cheap and it worked i went to that until insurance came back but now I’m knew that dope worked better do u get my script and just eat them like candy cause finally i didn’t hurt i could do normal stuff like clean the house but it knew it had to get better i was in detox maybe ten times.i would leave the place some times and as i drove out the driveway i was popping my pills cause the pain was bad. Then one of the last time before going on Suboxone i tried to stay clean but the 3rd week it went into withdrawals again. Seems a small amount of people this happens to is was off the stuff but my brain needed it i ended up in the hospital because i couldn’t stop vomiting for 14 hours so when it got home from 3 days in the hospital i started to use again.the next time I’m went off drugs i tried Suboxone i tried that 4 or 5 times and it still didn’t work.finally i gave in i tried methadone i figured I’m going to solve my pain issues and get my life back and it saved me.problem. BIG. PROBLEM here where u live in drive close to 2 hours for a clinic 20 in gas and the first 3 months you go every day and my Medicare Medicare is not accepted at 15.50 a day my income is gone.i can’t have cable wifi or phone lost my car insurance is sit and do nothing is have no money.we need to have clinics in the area and funds for people to use them this area is poor people want to get better but when it cost so much they can’ almost a year clean from all the other stuff but my pain isn’t to bad i can manage because methadone saved me but how long can i afford this way if life my income goes totally for the medication and transportation.

Dianna Feathers

A wasted life

My nephew was One of the sweetest and kindest young men you would ever meet. He graduated at the top of his class at UVA. He taught school in France, then returned to the states to attend law school in Richmond at VCU. It was here became an user. He did graduate law school top of his class yet again. He could Play any musical instrument you placed into his hand, he was on the radio show, and he was part of the UVA klezmer band as well as a band in Richmond. This young man had so much to give the world and that is what his life cycle was; to help the underprivileged, The poor, and those who cannot help themselves. Yet he cannot help himself. He attempted suicide and after going into rehab came home. drug dealers want you to use just one time, one more time. You are their investment and when they continue to leave drugs on your front porch, it’s very hard to turn away. He lived alone, with all of his family living an hour away. No matter what you do you could take it away from The user. You cannot take away that addiction. I will not repeat the circumstance of his death, but I will say he wanted addiction to end, and with that being said, he may have used that one last time, but he also made sure he would never use again. Answer the phone at nine, at 3 AM but not at 6 AM. 7:30 AM when his father got there, The shades were drawn, the house key was gone from its usual spot on the porch and doors were locked. The police did not allow him to come inside or to see him once he knew he was gone because it was so horrific. He came from the perfect home, perfect parents Who doted on he and his sister. He was sent to the best schools, and yes he was loved. He wanted so desperately to save everyone else but becoming an attorney and yet he could not save himself. A wasted life. No matter what background you come from, which poor black white pink purple, addiction clinches on to anyone and everyone it can. How do I know this? Because I too was a drug addict for two years, and I too wEnt to rehab. Cocaine is not powerful as heroin I am told, my rehab program was three years. And it took three years to stay away and not look back into the blackness of that horrible life. Something has to be done in this and every state to end this nightmare and safe t every state to end this nightmare and save our nephews nieces brothers sisters cousins children mothers and fathers before it’s too late

Anita Pardue

Destroyed Lives

My family always had the best insurance through my husbands jobs- when he made a job change to the NNSY – june 21 2010- we had great insurance – medical- dental and eyes- unfourtantly my husband drowned on June 4. 2011 and since he had not been employed for a year – we lost all insurance – I tried to keep the dental and eye insurance but could not afford the medical and soon after had to let the other go as well – life has been a struggle – no coverage for anything – teeth issues – the kids – I have 6 – just use whatever they had at the time or do without – I struggle to make doctor payments enough to allow us to get necessary medicines like high blood pressure – anxiety and depression caused by not only my husbands drowning but my dad dying 3 months later – my son almost dying of an overdose – they had to freeze him and then slowly warm him back up – another daughter who her dad drowned a week before she turned 18 and graduated from high school was introduced to herion and after over dosing and almost dying 3 times -we have finally after jail time gotten her on the implant that we can only do because of the cost because a dear friend is paying for it and it has turned get life around – but with no insurance I fight a daily ear infection . And cannot afford to get treatment – I do without anything other than the bare neccesities because I can’t afford them and my kids although all above the age of 18 have many issues because of the past – we just suffer and do without when j see others getting quality care and we just have to suffer because we fall through the cracks as they say hurts- my daughter that I spent thousands of dollars on her teeth when we had coverage and my husband – I was a stay at home mom- braces – implants due to being born without her adult wisdom teeth etc now has cavities on her front teeth and no money to correct this – so sad she may now loose this tooth and she is 23. Trying to find a job but must do not provide health care – I can’t even get widow benifits until I turn 60 in Virginua – been one now for 6 years but not according to the govt. And I’m about to lose my house – the only thing I have left – I’m tired and I cry a lot but I know I’m not alone . Thank you – Kay Harwood

Kay Hatwood

Barriers to Treatment

I am a Registered Nurse, and mother of a daughter with substance use disorder. I have had several encounters with her in Hospitals. I am embarrassed and disappointed by the negative attitudes and lack of supportive treatment she received. Doctors and Nurses need to be educated that addiction should be treated as any other medical condition. This is supported by the Parity Laws. If a person with diabetes comes to the hospital in need of dialysis they are not given a list of facilities and sent home. The same respect and responsible treatment should be provided to an individual seeking help to detox. Treatment should begin in the hospital when the individual is ready. This is a barrier to people getting help. I have talked to many professionals in the field of addiction as well as active or former addicts. There is a concensus among all that the hospitals will do nothing to help an addict that wants help.

Diana Hollister

A real matter of life and death.

On September 14, 2015 my husband suffered a massive stroke that left him with both significant physical disabilities as well as communication disabilities due to aphasia. As a result he lost his job and our family lost our health insurance. He needs help with all of his everyday activities and I am his full time caretaker. Because of the ACA we were able to buy a silver plan with the help of subsidies for $44 a month. This has been a lifesaver, and I mean that quite literally. Without health insurance we would have never been able to afford this past year’s worth of physical, speech, and occupational therapy. We would have never been able to afford the numerous Doctor and specialist visits, the botox that he needs in his immobile arm that keeps his pain down to a tolerable level, and the medication that he needs to survive.
Due to his stroke he has trouble swallowing and as a result of this he is prone to bouts of aspiration pneumonia. His last hospital visit alone totaled almost $30,000. We paid nothing because we already hit his $600 maximum out of pocket expense.
We cried on election night and every day since. We are absolutely terrified of losing our insurance and the subsidy that helps us afford it. We are horrified that not only my husband, but also our 12 year old son may become uninsurable because of a genetic heart condition once ACA is repealed. At a time where we should be focusing on his recovery we spend our days scared to death for our future.
None of the plans that the Republicans are floating around have offered any solace. I’ve heard plenty of ways that they’re going to cut PP, Medicaid and subsidies to give tax breaks to the rich, but I’ve yet to hear any acceptable plans for people like us.
Throwing people with preexisting conditions like my husband into a high risk pool, where premiums are sky high and coverage is dirt low, is not an acceptable plan.
Getting rid of minimum coverage requirements so they can stick those of us who can’t afford premiums on a catastrophic plan and call us insured is not a reasonable replacement!
Offering health savings accounts to people who pinch pennies is not a plan!
Cutting funding for Medicaid and Planned Parenthood is not a plan!

Mendy Pursley

Suffering & no life because of chronic pain.

I suffer from chronic pain. I have neurapthy, shingles osteoporosis, arthritis, RA and I’m almost sure I have fibromyalgia..I don’t have a life because of chronic pain…And I can’t get pain meds because of the idiots taking it wrong . That’s not my fault but I pay for it and suffer because of them…So, think about it before you make it worse..But, it can’t get much worse for me. Thanks

Cynthia Steb

Heroin has taken my son

My son started taking drugs in college to cope. He has a genius IQ, is very talented and has one year of college left. He became a slave of heroin as it is cheaper than pills. He is sitting in jail now awaiting his fate. No mention of his addiction in his record, just petty theft. This means no help for him with the reason for his actions. His court appointed attorney said they want to throw the book at him, metaphorically. Help for him has not reached our court system. I am at a loss, and heartbroken. I am wondering if the newspaper is my only recourse. Is there any source here for parents struggling with this? This is a perfect example of incarceration, not help.

Robin Hauser Franklin

support treatment for opioid addicts

I am aware, first hand, of a number of young adults who have become addicted to opioids after having been prescribed them for pain. Many have died. IV heroin use is the path many addicts tend to take once doctors and pharmacies no longer prescribe to them. Every addict I know or have spoken with indicates a genuine desire to “get off” opioids, but also has no viable means to do so. Once addicted, jobs and families and support systems fall away, and the route to treatment becomes obscured, unavailable, or otherwise impossible.

Virginia Consumer Healthcare Alliance must advocate that effective treatment modalities be provided those without adequate insurance coverage. Also, health insurance should be required to cover such treatment. Furthermore, more treatment centers with both in-patient and out-patient programs, as well as follow up options and support for sober living, should be promoted.

karen collins

I am chemically dependent it

I am chemically dependent it started when I get in my father’s prescription medicine. I’m working a methadone program and thank goodness for that the only problem is I don’t have insurance. It cost me $420 a month and I am struggling to pay that and child support and put a roof over my head. But I will allow nothing to interrupt my sobriety that’s the most important thing in my life and it allows me to be a productive part of society please help me find a way to afford this program.



I am chemically dependent. It started when I was young dipping into my father’s prescription medicine. Later in my teenage years I suffered injuries that led to prescription opiates. I suffered a back injury that left me with chronic pain thank goodness for methodone Clinic. The problem is I don’t have insurance and can’t afford it. I am working in program now and successfully doing it it is very hard for me to afford it is $420 a month and I am having a tough time having to pay child support and monthly bills as well. But I tend to continue to be sober and work the program because it’s the most important thing in my life at this point. The program helps me bye providing me with counseling and tools to make me a productive part of society.


Virginia consumer


Eva E. Hatch


I know so many ppl whose family is torn because of addiction opioids,meth etc they say go to community service board for help 🤣Yes if you can get in within a month your lucky at least in rockbridge county if you have no insurance health issue good luck in getting into a rehab center been through with one of my children need help not jail then there’s the felony which no one wants to hire you even if your clean so most feel no hope there is na/ aa ppl can go no charge. Ppl who have addiction need help young kids need more education about drug addiction it needs to be taught since I hear 12/13 year old kids are using meth this is scary I was told by an police officer I was shocked it doesn’t matter rich/ poor what walk of life addiction help needs to be a viable

Brenda koval


My son is a heroin addict. He has gotten in trouble in the past. Around here people think putting him in jail is the answer. No he needs rehab. But it’s expensive and only for 7 to 10 days. Virginia needs to help stop this epidemic. Please help


You Are Not Alone

Due to the lack of awareness and damaging stigma attached to mental health I wanted to start a blog where people can reach out and share their stories, a safe place to talk and/or ask for help anonymously. I’m a person with lived experience and I know what it feels like to have lost all hope, feel alone, and that no one understands, not to mention the judgement and isolation that comes with having a mental health illness. There was a time in my life when I lost all hope and felt so alone that I couldn’t handle the pain. I describe the pain as if I was on the top of a burning building with no way out and I only had two options–do I stay and burn to my death or do I jump?!

I know the pain and suffering all to well that it almost ended my life many times. The bravest thing I have ever done is be alive today!….To share my story, reach out to others, and to let people know “You Are Not Alone”. As of January 7, 2017 I have been 11 years drug free!

Katrina Milburn

A Dance With the Devil

Our 27 yr old son has struggled with a substance use disorder since he was 12 to 15 yrs old. He is currently incarcerated after a horrible downward spiral these past six months…he has become emotionally and verbally abusive and I believe uses synthetic drugs so he can pass a drug screen…which unfortunately make him so psychotic it is difficult to see my beautiful son I thought I was raising.
He has spent much of his 20’s in jail because of probation violation…what a waste of his life and tax payer dollars. If he had cancer would he be put in jail for that disease and any relapses associate with it?…I think not!
He needs help in a structured environment for at least the next 22 to 18 mos so his brain can heal, the neurotransmitters that have been sent to outer space brought back to earth and normalized, and a recovery lifestyle embedded that he can learn to live with and accept..we have spent over $250,000 of our own money..this,should not be..other diseases have continuum’s of care that are reimbursed by insurers..this is what substance use disorders deserve as well. ..

Connie D Petock

Problem equals Fed’s and Lawyers

In my interactions with healthcare providers, the problem is simple. Excessive liberal controls and suits by money hungry lawyers period!

Robert Stephens

I’ve been dealing with healthcare since the nineties, so i can tell you a thing or two…

I started working at a nursing home in 1991 as an activity director. Being a department manager and full time employee, part of my package was paid healthcare, the ability to add & pay for spouse/children – and the policy was awesome! a minimal deductible, and then pretty much 80% of the bill. As the years passed, the insurance went up. my corporation only paid a portion of my premiums…dependent costs rose as well, as did the deductibles…even the percentage of coverage dropped to 70%. I was diagnosed with MS in 1996. It is sad that you have to pay such attention to bills and payments made by insurance…it almost felt like each time i got sick and had to go to the hospital, as i would finally begin to get back to normal and back to work, the bills would start to come in…and the confusing way hospitals billed, and every doctor and radiologist and technician that read your test results billed you; the insurance companies would deny claims and i’d have to call and track down payments and hold on to bills and statements EOB’s – sick people should not have to deal with such confusion… Also during this time i ended up taking a desk job in the front office, as a means to continue to work, but at a less stressful position. Part of my job entailed dealing with the insurance companies on payments for our customers…In the early nineties Medicare part B was paying for our residents’ PT, OT and SE therapies when they qualified for these services (as well as skilled nursing svs) But as the years passed, by the late nineties, Medicare had placed a “cap” on how much therapy an individual could recieve within a calendar year (regardless of how much they needed OR increase in function) They also began requiring year after year more documentation proving that the individual needed the services AND was improving…once they plateaued – services would no longer be reimbursed by Medicare. On my own medical front, costs just rose higher and higher each year. i couldn’t afford my MS medication because by that time if a drug was over a certain amount, the consumer would have to pay 30%, then 40% of the cost of the drug…that equaled out to 3 – 5 hundred dollars a month that i didn’t have. When i ended up retiring and getting on disability (SS) I had Medicare. Part D was just beginning. With the “doughnut gap”..i fell in it in 3 months – trying to get back on the MS medication. i quit it. I also ended up working with my physician for 3 years to get my meds to the point where i could pay for them and not fall into “the doughnut hole”and have to pay 100% of my drug costs (until reaching catastrophic yatta yatta yatta). Since the Affordable Care Act, i have noticed improvements each year on how much part D plans were charging for generics – and last year, generics were free!!! of course, insurance companies increased premiums a bit and raised the price of deductibles somewhat, but i KNOW the ACA had something to do with what reductions i did receive and the slow cost increases. my husband pays for my sons’ medical insurance (he’s 21). if it weren’t for the ACA, he would have no paycheck if he had to pay for it himself through his own employment. if it weren’t for ACA, me with a pre-existing condition, could be denied Medicare co-insurance. “Obamacare” did not increase the costs of being ill, that’s been going on for a Lonnng. Time. too many people living too long with too many heroic medical advances. and insurance companies, and drug companies, medical equipment companies, healthcare corps, are All in it to make money. We Knew when the ACA was signed into law in 2010 that there were problems…that as 2015, ’16 and ’17 came up, that other parts of the program were to kick in…but nobody worked on it after the Republicans took over control of the House and Senate…all they would do was bring up motions to repeal it…Never to amend, to allocate how moneys were to be dispersed, etc. Why couldn’t our lawmakers start fixing this 6 years ago?!? it was not in the interest of Americans, i can assure you. We can not afford to repeal the ACA…and yet that is what the Trump Admin seems insistent upon doing. I am very concerned. This is one of the main reasons I have chosen to be more of an active citizen this year. And that’s why i’m here, giving you this testimonial.

Jo Elaine Justis

My son on heroin

My son is sitting in the Roanoke Salem jail now, and the court appointed attorney says the assistant commonwealth attorney does not want to help my son. Was in drug court, and kicked off for taking suboxone, given 3 years..2 he spent in regional, no help, no training, nothing. Then transfered to Nottoway, no training, no counseling. My son is now 29, 3 years of college, no support, and arrested on the testimony of the drug dealer that he bought heroin from. He is not in jail. His court appointed attorney says they don’t want to consider Detention Diversion, but want to throw him under the bus, and he does not seem to care. I am sick, and don’t know where to turn. This is my son..and I feel completely helpless..There seems to be no live in the Salem courts at all.

Robin Hauser franklin

Healthcare For The Elderly

My mother is 83 years old. She has to work at kroger bagging ..Just to pay for her medicine. We looked into a policy so she could retire. But she can’t afford to. She should not have to worry about paying for her medicine at her age.This is America. Shame, Shame. Cindy Ferris

Cynthia Ferris