Message from Virginia REALTORS® 2020 President, Kemper Funkhouser
“On Tuesday, May 20, 2020, Governor Northam vetoed our health insurance legislation (HB 795 and SB 235), despite nearly unanimous support of the bills in both the House and the Senate. This means any opportunity to move forward with creating a REALTOR® health insurance plan has stalled for 2020.
We gained bipartisan support for this legislation from members of the General Assembly, including Democrats and Republicans, Senators and Delegates, and throughout urban and rural Virginia. Despite this overwhelming support, the Governor has spoken with his veto.
We remain committed to finding affordable health plan solutions for our members. Today, we shared with the Governor’s staff that we will continue to work with him, and with whomever his successor is, to find solutions to the crushing costs associated with the individual health insurance market.
For months, we have sent a strong message to members of the General Assembly, to members of the Congressional delegation, and to the Governor, making it clear that the only reason we are seeking the ability to create a REALTOR® health insurance plan is to provide our members with the opportunity to acquire health insurance for a more reasonable cost while assuring there are robust consumer protections that guard Virginians from unscrupulous plans. Our bills would have done that, while requiring these plans to include Affordable Care Act-compliant coverage that hardworking Virginians deserve. Our bills addressed the nearly 7,000 REALTORS® in Virginia who go without health insurance coverage every day.
This issue came to our attention because so many of you reached out to share with us your concerns and frustrations regarding health insurance and the lack of affordable options. While this is not the outcome our incredible staff and volunteers fought so hard for, I am very proud of the bipartisan support we created along the way. I want to thank the many volunteers who actively lobbied on our behalf, the many thousands of REALTORS® who responded to our Calls For Action, and the incredible professional staff at Virginia REALTORS® who are true champions for our members. This was an unprecedented collective effort by the Virginia REALTORS® and one of which we should all be proud.
I wish you great health and prosperity. Rest assured that we will continue to fight on your behalf.”