Opinion: Doth Dunnavant Protest Too Much

By Bert Berlin

Dr. Dunnavant has demanded that TV stations stop showing Debra Rodman’s ad on Dunnavant’s bill SB844. I don’t imagine that Dunnavant’s demand mentioned this language in the governor’s veto message of her bill:

“This legislation would place consumers at risk of being underinsured and would fragment Virginia’s federal Marketplace risk pool, leading to rapidly increasing premiums. Senate Bill 844 would allow insurance carriers and individuals to circumvent the protections in the Affordable Care Act. Short-term plans are stopgap policies that frequently do not cover mental health treatment, substance abuse treatment, prescription drugs, or maternity benefits. People with minimal current health care needs are more likely to purchase these skimpy plans, leaving people who have more significant health care needs in the Marketplace. The adverse selection associated with short-term plans, in combination with the elimination of the federal individual mandate, will increase Virginia Marketplace premiums 19.1%, according to the Urban Institute. Virginia is already witnessing unnecessary premium increases in the preliminary rate filings insurance carriers have submitted for 2019, because of federal actions destabilizing the Marketplace.”

The governor suggested, instead, a delay in the implementation of the bill until its effects on the healthcare market could be studied. Dr. Dunnavant voted to reject the governor’s recommendation. The governor’s veto became effective and the bill failed to pass.