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Janet Howell Recovering From Cancer Treatment

by Karen Goff — September 10, 2015 at 4:20 pm 9 Comments

Janet Howell/Courtesy office of Janet HowellState Sen. Janet Howell (D-32nd) announced on Thursday she is recovering from breast cancer treatment.

The Reston resident, who has served in Richmond since 1992, said in her newsletter to constituents that the diagnosis was “totally unexpected” and that she finished a course of radiation treatment last week.

Said Howell:

The summer began with a totally unexpected diagnosis of stage 1 breast cancer. A screening mammogram revealed an 8mm malignancy.

Biopsies, a lumpectomy and several weeks of radiation followed. The radiation was completed last week.

The treatments have totally discombobulated my schedule and I have missed many events I otherwise would have liked to attend!  I am extremely grateful for the wonderful medical care I received from all the caring professionals at Kaiser Permanente. They assure me that my prognosis is excellent.

Howell, 71, has been an advocate for expanding Medicaid in Virginia. The Republican-led Virginia General Assembly has voted against the program that would provide coverage to thousands of low-income citizens, saying Virginia will end up having to pay for it eventually.

“From this experience I have become even more aware of how important it is for everyone to have health insurance,” she said.  “Not having to worry about paying for the expensive treatment has been a blessing. I wish everyone were so fortunate. The cruelty of those who would deprive healthcare coverage to nearly 400,000 of their fellow Virginians is unfathomable to me.”

“This is especially true given that failure to expand Medicaid means turning back $5 million dollars of federal aid daily, damaging the viability of our hospitals, and spurning 30,000 well-paying healthcare jobs.”

Howell is running unopposed for re-election in November.

  • Rational Reston

    All the best to Sen. Howell regarding her health, and here’s hoping to a continuing and speedy recovery.

    Sadly she has turned this challenge in her life into a political opportunity, and chance to utter talking points full of partial truths. Virginia is not really turning ‘back’ Federal funds, it is not accepting the Federal funds because those funds are not a reliable stream of funding. In fact, those funds are set to decrease from the Federal government, leaving Virginia with holding the bag. If Sen. Howell, and her compatriots could come up with a sustainable funding plan other than just depending on the Federal government, there may be a way forward. But just blindly accepting the current funding and increasing Medicaid is putting the burden on Virginia in the future.

    • Ming the Merciless

      More people suckling at the government teat = more Democrats = more votes for Ken and Janet, yaaay. If you oppose that you must be a cruel, evil monster!

    • Greg

      Don’t give her too many ideas — she will very soon start uttering Komrade Kathy’s mantra: the annual tax increases “are not enough.”

    • Leila Gordon

      That would not be the case at all if the Federal government and those involved in it would acknowledge that universal access to quality health care is an essential freedom and therefore a political priority. Perhaps then we could develop the funding and policies required to achieve that.

    • Rational Reston

      Also more health insurance does not lower the cost of or improve health care, it just means that more people can participate in a broken system where the health care providers can make record profits.

  • Leila Gordon

    All the best for a full recovery to Janet. Once again, her core qualities of courage, compassion and conviction shine through a tough experience for her and her family.

  • Truly Rational

    The sustainable funding comment is not itself “sustainable.” Under the Affordable Care Act, the Commonwealth would have received 100 percent of the funds necessary to add 400,000 Virginians to the Medicaid program in 2014-16, and 90 percent of the funds for the same group from 2017 on (indefinitely into the future). The Medicaid program has been in existence for some 50 years, and the Federal Government has not reneged on, or reduced its contribution to State programs, since it started, so we would not expect to be left “holding the bag” for the expansion. Meanwhile, we are (compassionately) left paying for health care for many of these 400,000, with our Virginia tax dollars, when they end up in the emergency room. We should take advantage of the expansion opportunity.

    • Rational Reston

      If it’s not 100% funded 100% of the time, it’s not sustainable, with or without the quotes.

      Where would the remaining 10% come from? Out of Virginia’s tax pockets. Senator Howell (and the others promoting this) should find a sustainable way of funding the program before jumping on board. It would be a way of providing a complete solution instead of pointing fingers.

    • Greg

      100 percent of the money, regardless of where it comes from, needed to fund any form of public health care is money that the government has taken from someone who earned it. Call it as it is.

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