As GOP Senators finally reconvene on May 14th to address budget, Republican leaders, Chambers of Commerce, and Editorial Boards from every corner of the Commonwealth demand the expansion of Medicaid
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.