MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Kendra Fershee, associate dean of the West Virginia University College of Law and 1st Congressional District candidate, said she will fight to provide all West Virginians with health care if elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.
She is not pushing a plan, explaining during an appearance on MetroNews “Talkline” it is important to create a policy that allows people to visit the doctor if they are sick.
“I’m not advocating for a particular piece of legislation right now, and partly that’s because I don’t want to tie myself to something that ultimately isn’t the best plan for West Virginia,” she said. ‘”What I do know is that we need a plan that ensures every single person is insured or able to go to the doctor regardless of how much money they have.”
Fershee beat Ralph Baxter in the May 8 Democratic primary and will face off against U.S. Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., in the general election.
She said the efforts could be spent on increasing insurance access or creating a single-payer program, but people should have access to health care, which she called a moral right.
“The best analog I can come up with is public education,” she said. “We decided, as a nation, that we want kids to be educated, want our populace to be educated because it’s better for everyone and it keeps us free.”
“That same kind of philosophy should apply to health care. It’s certainly just as important as education in terms of making Americans healthy and strong and employable,” she added.
Fershee also spoke in favor of legalizing medical marijuana nationally as an alternative to opioid treatments, in addition to being a new source of revenue for West Virginia.
“Those meds are heavy duty and can be quite addictive and deadly for some people,” she said.
As for allowing marijuana for recreational use, Fershee said that is a decision that should be left up to states.
“I think my role as a congressional representative is to make sure that the federal government stays out of West Virginia’s way, whatever West Virginia wants to do in that regard,” she said.
McKinley was elected to the seat in the 2010 election and is running for his fifth term in office. Sabato’s Crystal Ball rates the race as “safe Republican.” According to the most recent Federal Election Commission filings, McKinley’s campaign has around $922,500 on hand compared to Fershee’s $8,000.