Statement on Veto of Association Health Plan Legislation

May 3, 2019

Harrisonburg – Delegate Tony Wilt (R-Rockingham) released the following statement after the Governor vetoed House Bill 2443:

“It is unfortunate that the Governor chose to ultimately veto HB 2443 after it received strong bi-partisan support from the General Assembly. This bill would have created a new option for affordable health coverage for many who currently have no option under the crushing premium increases we have seen in recent years. The bill expanded the opportunity for small businesses to join together under a Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangement (MEWA) – a self-funded benefits consortium of small businesses and self-employed individuals that may pool together to offer their employees comprehensive, affordable group health care coverage on terms similar to those available to large employers.

“Following passage by the legislature, the Governor put forward a heavily amended version that was rejected during the reconvened session by a large bi-partisan majority. The Governor’s substitute contained several amendments that were acceptable, but unfortunately, he also included language that rendered the bill useless and actually took us backwards with regards to a specific policy related to the ability of self-employed individuals to access the small group market.

“Despite the veto, in the interim I intend to continue to work with stakeholders and the Administration to seek out a path forward on this important issue. Virginia’s expansion of Medicaid did nothing to address the increasing challenges that middle-class families face in trying to obtain and afford their healthcare – in some respects it only made it worse. We must implement policies that can provide more affordable coverage options for these middle-class families that simply can’t afford premiums that have doubled or tripled.”