Your Views: We need campaign finance reform

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To the editor:

Average citizens place a priority on having a health system which works for all of us. Yet the current pandemic clearly reveals a fractured health system which has made it, and us, more vulnerable to the deadly coronavirus than we need to be.

Part of the problem is caused by unlimited political spending which allows special interests, who do not represent voters, to impose their preferred healthcare policies on legislatures, which serve their interests but not ours.

As a result of Supreme Court rulings during the past 30 years, culminating in the 2010 Citizens United ruling, pharmaceutical companies, physicians and health professionals are the among the largest source of federal campaign contributions. In 2018 they provided $225 million to federal candidates, outside money groups and parties while spending $421 million on lobbying efforts for health-related issues. In Virginia, health interests contributed more than $12 million to candidates in the same year.

Unregulated money is destroying our ability to access affordable health care, resulting in public policies that don’t represent the wishes of our citizens. In the current health crisis, the influence of these special interests is actually killing people.

We need a constitutional amendment to allow states and Congress to regulate spending on our elections. We also need campaign finance reform in Virginia, which has no limits on campaign contributions. Yet even though 80 percent of Americans believe in the need for campaign finance reform, not one single campaign finance bill passed in the last General Assembly.

Restoring Virginians’ faith in government requires that the General Assembly pass comprehensive campaign reform in 2021. Voters need to regain influence over the laws under which we live, including those governing our nation’s all-important system of healthcare.

-Nancy Morgan, Alexandria

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