HURTING THOUSANDS OF VIRGINIANS, REPUBLICANS SWITCH POSITION ON MEDICAL DEBT RELIEF
April 28th, 2022
Richmond, VA: Today, Nadarius Clark, Delegate for Virginia's 79th District which covers the localities of Portsmouth, Norfolk, and Chesapeake, spoke out against the Republican caucus following the reconvened legislative session where members reconsidered bills vetoed by the Governor.
Among them, HB 573, which was introduced by Delegate Clark in January, and passed the House and Senate in March with a significant bipartisan margin, receiving the support of 41 Republicans and every Democrat in the House of Delegates. The bill was subsequently vetoed by the Governor earlier this month.
HB 573 would have granted life-altering medical debt amnesty for thousands of Virginians. In practice this means that, after three years, families can’t be sued for any medical debt–debt they often had no choice in procuring. The statute of limitations would apply to hospitals, debt collection agencies, and the Commonwealth of Virginia.
In a vote Wednesday aimed at overriding the Governor’s veto, every Republican, including the 41 who voted for the bill in March, voted against it, upholding the Governor’s veto.
“After so much advocacy by experts, lobbying from progressive organizations, and the hard work of myself and many of my friends on both sides of the aisle, I am extremely disheartened to see that the callous decision made by Governor Youngkin to veto this critical piece of legislation is stronger than the convictions of my Republican colleagues,” Delegate Clark said of the Republican’s decision.
“The bill is no different than it was 50 days ago when a majority of Republicans supported it.”
“I look forward to meeting with the Governor at the earliest opportunity to get right back to work on this issue.” Delegate Clark said in regards to the work that lies ahead. “One in four Virginians is currently in medical debt. Medical debt is a leading cause of poverty, bankruptcy, and homelessness.”
“The people of Virginia did not send us to Richmond to spin our wheels and go nowhere. They sent us to get things done. I’m disappointed in my colleagues, but I am more fired up than ever to keep fighting for progress. While the Republicans seem to have lost sight of that, I have not.”