The idea that medical debt collectors might come after people struggling to make ends meet is of concern to many Republicans and Democrats, who worked together during the General Assembly session to protect Virginians.
Now the governor has used his veto pen on two of those bills.
Victims of crime who are waiting for compensation from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Fund should not be harassed by debt collectors for medical bills. That is why Senator Creigh Deeds introduced a bill to do something about it. The Bath County Democrat pushed the bill out of the House and Senate with bipartisan majorities. And then the governor vetoed it.
“This governor has yet to understand that governing requires us all to work together,” Deeds said. “The bill he vetoed, my bill, simply provided an enforcement mechanism for a change in law that we made when Republicans had full control of the General Assembly to protect the victims of crime.”
That wasn’t the only veto of a medical debt bill. First-year delegate Nadarius Clark, a Democrat from Portsmouth, had a bill with huge bipartisan majorities that would create a new three-year statute of limitations for recovering medical debts. Clark says he worked with Republican Attorney General Jason Miyares on the bill, and it was still vetoed.
“That’s why we were even more shocked when the bill was vetoed because we worked with the attorney general’s office when the bill was in the Senate,” Clark said. “They gave us some things that we came back and changed, and it was still vetoed.”
Overriding a veto takes two-thirds in the House and two-thirds in the Senate, and that’s very rare. The last time this happened was over a decade ago when Bob McDonnell was governor.
This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.