TOMMY NORMENT PLEASE READ THESE: Republicans, Democrats, and Virginians from every corner of the Commonwealth want a budget with Mediciad Expansion
Two-Term Republican Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling: It's time to close the health care gap in Virginia (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
“Today in Virginia, thousands of people working hard to make a better life for their families face a barrier to getting quality care because they don’t have health insurance. Make no mistake, this is a quality-of-life issue. It is an economic issue.
When people are healthy they are productive and can contribute to society. When they are ill or injured, but unable to get treatment in the proper setting, their struggles can affect us all.
The cost of delaying necessary care and ending up in the hospital emergency room burdens the health-care system, the insurance sector, taxpayers, government, and businesses. For businesses and workers this means higher insurance costs. For hospitals, it means uncompensated care.
This is why many chambers of commerce, local governments, organizations, and stakeholders support finding a compromise plan to help as many as 300,000 low-income uninsured Virginians get health coverage."
Former GOP Senator Fred Quayle: Health plan compromise will work for Virginia (The Virginian-Pilot)
"Working with Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat from the Eastern Shore, I hope that citizen leaders representing Hampton Roads will be at the forefront of collaborative efforts to find compromise on health care that helps people in need. I feel fortunate to be able to get skilled medical care in my community. In a fiscally responsible way, the House plan puts that care in reach for thousands of our fellow Virginians."
Former GOP Delegate Preston Bryant: The Fiscal Case for Medicaid Expansion (Lynchburg News and Advance)
"Bringing our federal tax dollars back to Virginia saves real money. General fund budget savings alone exceed $400 million because enhanced funding would free up millions in state spending now devoted to health care. Those freed millions can be invested in other priorities such as education and public safety.
What’s more, coverage expansion would yield net savings of about $100 million over the next four years."
Former GOP Delegate Don Merricks: The General Assembly needs to act (Martinsville Bulletin)
"That’s exactly what I think is being proposed now, and it is important that everyone understands what impact this would have not only in our area, but for the Commonwealth as a whole.
Reforming the system while at the same time expanding coverage will have positive effects which, according to Chmura Economics and Analytics, will have an economic impact of $3.5 billion and create 26,500 jobs across the Commonwealth. In addition, communities including ours will see a decrease in health-related issues and will see positive effects on employment and the labor market. Rural hospitals will benefit and future closures will be less likely."
Staunton News-Leader Editorial Board: Virginia finally on verge of Medicaid expansion, thanks to Sen. Emmett Hanger's perseverance
“No doubt, Norment and his cohorts are alternately trying to figure out how they got themselves in this mess, how they can escape it and, if Medicaid is expanded, how they can straighten their bow ties and spin the decision to their own benefit.
Good luck. They’ve hemmed and hawed and delayed for much too long while poor, working Virginians who are stuck in low-paying jobs have suffered without adequate health care. All of us have suffered in a flawed system where those with insurance were overcharged for care that the commonwealth could have, but chose not to, provide with federal funds.
We hopeful this stalemate will finally end this epic General Assembly session, yielding a stronger, balanced budget and 400,000 more people with access to health care."
Former GOP Senator John Watkins: Both parties can champion health care reform (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
“Requiring Virginia to start a program for recipients to pursue work or educational training, and also have an eye on treatment costs by contributing copayments, are also reasonable steps. And the commonwealth certainly must incorporate measures to protect against waste, fraud, and abuse.
Virginia has long been recognized as a great place to live and work. That is in large part due to the efforts of a legislature that has focused on finding practical solutions to complicated problems.
Using federal tax dollars to expand Virginia’s Medicaid program can be done in a way that supports the private sector, spurs job creation, and creates opportunities for men, women, and children across the commonwealth.
These are priorities that members of both parties in Virginia’s General Assembly can and should champion."
GOP Delegate Terry Kilgore: The next step for rebuilding Southwest Virginia’s economy (The Roanoke Times)
“National and state efforts aimed at addressing the opioid crisis bring much needed attention to this issue that plagues our region. As the Southwest Virginia Health Authority evaluated the proposed merger of our two regional health systems, the data confirmed the seriousness of the health challenges we face — from obesity to the need for improved pre-natal care. Too many Southwest Virginia families struggle for access to health care often out-of-reach due to cost. As a result, preventable health concerns often become serious problems causing employees to miss work and families to suffer even greater financial strain.
It is time to act."
Former GOP Delegate Ron Villanueva: Medicaid expansion will help economy (The Virginian-Pilot)
"In Virginia, thousands of people without health insurance have limited options for coverage. As many as 300,000 Virginians just trying to get ahead find themselves in this difficult circumstance. That includes 16,300 people in Chesapeake and Virginia Beach who earn less than $16,754 a year.
These are people caught in the coverage gap. Many of them work but don’t have health benefits through their jobs, and they can’t afford to purchase health insurance. When these folks get sick or hurt, they face unenviable choices.
Some suffer through and keep working, hoping things don’t get worse because they can’t afford to take time off work. Others delay treatment until they can’t wait any longer, ending up in the hospital emergency room. (By law, hospitals must treat people who come for emergency care, even if they can’t pay.) That outcome isn’t good for the patients, or the rest of us."
Senator Louise Lucas: Expanded Medicaid works for Virginia (The Virginian-Pilot)
"I’m sad to say, however, that thousands of hard-working Virginians are without reliable access to health care services. It doesn’t have to be that way, though.
The Virginia Senate has before it state budget legislation with a bipartisan plan to extend health care coverage to 400,000 uninsured Virginians. These are working adults who earn less than $17,000 a year. In Chesapeake, Portsmouth and Suffolk, more than 12,000 people would be helped.
I have served in the Virginia Senate since 1992 and have cast important votes affecting the schools our children attend, the roads we drive on and many other critical issues. And I can unequivocally say that helping vulnerable Virginians is as consequential as anything I’ve done in 26 years of General Assembly service."
Former GOP Senator Jeff McWaters: The conservative case for expanding health coverage in Virginia (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
“Outspoken opponent” is a fair characterization of my position regarding expansion under the Affordable Care Act during my time representing Virginia Beach in the state Senate….
Like it or not, the ACA is the law. Alternatives congressional Republicans offered last summer confirm they don’t have a better plan to repeal and replace. Given that, Virginia’s legislative Republicans have seized on the opportunity to work with President Trump to enact conservative reforms on a program that is here to stay.
While we might wish for a different outcome, the available options aren’t appealing. Virginia can continue to watch billions of our tax dollars leave the commonwealth, never to return. That’s harmful to the economy.
Former GOP Delegates Rust, May, and Morgan: The House budget is a sold fiscal plan (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
"The Senate’s plan provides for no pay increases for teachers or law enforcement officers, no bonus to state employees, and considerably less investment to the port and colleges.
And it leaves billions of Virginians’ federal tax dollars on the table in Washington, which Virginians have paid while receiving no benefit.
Few readers of this column would argue that Washington is more capable than Virginians of the prudent use of our tax dollars. Yet, through its budget plan, this is the argument that the Senate has chosen to make."
Former GOP Delegate Russ Potts: Find a way -- House and Senate pols need to forge a compromise to expand Medicaid (The Winchester Star)
"So far, 32 states and the District of Columbia have expanded Medicaid, including those led by GOP governors such as Arizona, Indiana (under now-Vice President Mike Pence), and Kentucky.
Soon, the Virginia Senate will consider the compromise budget legislation and health care plan.
Like countless others, I pray the Senate reaches a compromise that helps vulnerable Virginians while also supporting our police, teachers, road workers, local governments, and so many others eager for a budget deal before the July 1 deadline.”
GOP Senator Frank Wagner: Health plan could help 2 million Virginians (Virginian-Pilot)
The expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act would cover everyone with incomes below 138 percent of the poverty level, individuals who are considered to be the working poor.
But what about those who earn income above that threshold ($16,753 for a single individual and $34,638 for a family of four)? These hard-working Virginians struggle every day to cover their health insurance, deductibles and co-pays while trying to meet the rest of their living expenses.
I believe we can and should help both groups of Virginians.
21 Virginia Chambers of Commerce Endorse Increased Health Care Coverage Access
"Together, the 21 Chambers represent more than 10,700 businesses in Virginia with more than 1.3 million employees.....
By declining to draw down funds available through ACA – funds that are supported by Virginia tax dollars but not currently coming back here –the Commonwealth is missing out on an estimated $5 million in funding each day and has foregone more than $10.5 billion in funding in recent years.
Lynchburg News & Advance Editorial Board: Stop Playing Games with Virginia's Budget
The reason for the holdup? Medicaid expansion, which the Republican-led House of Delegates has OK’d with a work requirement. And the roadblock? Republican leadership of the Virginia Senate, most notably Majority Leader Tommy Norment, the co-chairman of the powerful Finance Committee and an ardent foe of any sort of Medicaid expansion, part of the Affordable Care Act.
That a single person is holding the budget and Virginia’s AAA credit rating hostage with no end in sight to this slow-moving crisis is unconscionable.
Bristol Herald Courier Editorial Board: Virginia needs to approve Medicaid expansion now
""This is a humanitarian issue that affects families with children, who have no alternative for health care other than showing up sick at hospital emergency rooms hoping to find at least some level of charity care. And for now, most of the cost of the expansion will be paid by the federal government...
Now is the time to bring Virginia in line with most of the other states, which have already expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.”
The House budget, crafted by Speaker Kirk Cox and Appropriations Committee chairman Del. Chris Jones, includes expanding Medicaid to 137 percent of the federal poverty line, opening the way for Virginia to receive close to $2 billion in tax dollars Virginians are already sending to Washington but that are going to other states that have already expanded their programs. That in turn frees up hundreds of millions of dollars in the state budget for long-delayed critical needs such as teacher salary increases, K-12 and higher education and replenishment of the state’s “rainy day” fund.
Richmond Times-Dispatch Editorial Board: Senate GOP leaders hold out against the inevitable
Advocates of Medicaid expansion say it actually would shore up state finances by bringing billions in federal money to Virginia. Either way, though, the debate has essentially been settled — at least to anyone who can count noses. It makes no sense to hold the budget hostage any longer to a lost cause.
Washington Post Editorial Board: At last, Virginia Republicans might allow their state better Medicaid
Virginia is a relatively wealthy state, but its Medicaid program is one of the nation’s most meager. It doesn’t cover childless single adults unless they’re disabled, and even disabled individuals are deemed ineligible if they earn more than $9,700 annually. Expanding Medicaid would raise income eligibility ceilings for individuals as well as families, which would yield a healthier population, a better economy and, according to some estimates, thousands of new jobs.
Virginian-Pilot Editorial Board: Pieces are in place for Virginia's Medicaid expansion
What’s more, accepting additional Medicaid dollars will allow Virginia to address other health-related shortcomings, such as its broken mental illness programs or the medical care provided to inmates in state facilities….
But the debate over whether to expand should finally be at an end. And the beginning of the end is today, as lawmakers return to work and, at last, pass a budget that includes Medicaid expansion.
The wait is over. The time is now. The mission is clear.