NBC29, CHRIS MARKHAM and CARLY KEMPLER
Representative Abigail Spanberger is putting healthcare at the top of her legislative list.
The 7th District Democrat visited the Orange County Free Clinic on Tuesday to meet with those at the forefront of the issue. She discussed several issues the county is facing with area doctors, pharmacists, and other healthcare professionals.
One of the topics Spanberger discussed during her visit was the need for more mental health resources at the Orange County Free Clinic. The clinic serves about 4,500 people living in the area and staff says there’s a huge need.
“They come in because they can’t afford health insurance,” said Dorren Brown, Executive Director of the Orange County Free Clinic. “They’re working, they have jobs, but at jobs where they, they’re not offered health insurance, and so if they have a chronic disease like diabetes…there’s no way they can afford their insulin or their medications.”
Lowering the cost of prescription drugs is one of the things Spanberger wants to do in office. During her visit, she also heard from pharmacists who say more needs to be done in the area of substance abuse, especially in the rural areas.
“The folks who work here who are seeing patients, members of our community…they have a strong understanding of what are the real challenges facing people and it’s informative to me to understand the needs of the people that I represent and also how our legislation may or may not impact folks,” Spanberger said.
Representative Spanberger recently introduced a bipartisan bill to increase access to lower-costing prescription drugs. The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed the bill.
“That bill provides greater transparency so that we can really get to the bottom of whether or not, where along the pipeline, those price increases are really most often exhibited,” Spanberger said.
Spanberger’s visit was part of a larger two-day tour to address healthcare concerns in the 7th District. She also visited Chesterfield and Culpeper Counties.