| From Sen. Herring's office:
HERRING HEALTH EXCHANGE BILL PASSES SENATE
Receives Broad Bi-Partisan Support; Obenshain Leads Charge To Defeat It
Leesburg – Today, the Senate passed bipartisan legislation offered by Democratic candidate for Attorney General State Senator Mark Herring (Loudoun & Fairfax) will protect Virginia consumers and give them greater access to affordable healthcare by helping to establish a federal health exchange in the Commonwealth.
SB 922, chief co-patroned by Senator Herring (Republican Senator John Watkins (Powhatan) was the patron), passed the Senate 31-8. The bill would allow Virginia to implement the Affordable Care Act by authorizing the State Corporation Commission and Virginia Department of Health to perform rate review and plan management functions to certify health benefit plans for participation in the new health exchange.
Starting in 2014, over 500,000 Virginians will gain access to health insurance through the exchange.
“Today’s bipartisan passage of a health exchange bill marks a victory for Virginia families and a defeat for those who would put ideology ahead of solutions. Now that the Affordable Care Act is the law of the land, Virginia must implement it in a way that works for the people of our state by expanding coverage and expanding consumer safeguards, which this bill does,” Herring stated. “While Senator Obenshain might think following in Ken Cuccinelli’s footsteps is good politics, these kind of ideological battles only make things tougher for Virginia families, when our job should be making their lives easier.”
Additional Herring Bills Pass Senate
SB 706, also chief co-patroned by Senator Herring, passed the Senate 39-0. The bill would make it a felony to knowingly financially exploit an older or incapacitated adult.
Senator Herring has led the effort in the General Assembly for several years on the issue of financial elder abuse working with a coalition of groups including the Fairfax County Financial Crimes Division, AARP, Alzheimer’s organizations, Commonwealth’s Attorneys and concerned citizens.
“When I began this effort in 2009, we found that Virginia’s laws were among the weakest in the nation at protecting older Virginians from financial abuse,” Herring stated. “Criminals are actually coming to Virginian to prey on our seniors and we cannot tolerate that any longer.”
Also passing the Senate today, on a 39-0 vote, was SB 1083 to criminalize newly identified chemical compounds of “bath salts.”
“Designer drugs like bath salts continue to threaten the health and safety of our young people in Virginia,” Herring stated. “We must remain vigilant in giving law enforcement and prosecutors the tools they need to go after them as criminals who create new compounds designed to skirt our laws.”