Medicaid Expansion is wonderful news for hard working individuals who may be only an illness away from financial ruin or who have to choose between food for their kids or medicine for a chronic illness. But it’s also great news for ALL Virginians.
We thank our local leadership, and most especially Dick Saslaw, the Senate Minority Leader (D-VA 35) (whose parliamentary leadership forced his colleagues to act on the budget), Senators Janet Howell (D-VA 32), and George Barker (D-VA 39) for their longstanding fight to bring about this tangible demonstration of humanity and sound public policy.
Senator Saslaw said: “Health care is not a privilege: It is a right. A lot of us here have had a lot of breaks in our lives, but there are many others out there who do not get these breaks. They work hard, but for one reason or another things don’t turn out right for them. These people need our help, and we have done that.”
Under Republican majorities in both the House of Delegates and the Senate, Virginia has left billions of federal tax dollars behind by refusing to expand Medicaid to our most vulnerable citizens – children, the elderly, disabled and the working poor. This has placed a serious strain on the Commonwealth’s budget as well as on local community service providers.
Moving forward, Virginia’s obligation will be limited to 10% of the cost for Medicaid expansion. The costs will be shared with hospitals in the form of a provider assessment, which then will free up revenue for other priorities in the two-year spending plan just approved by the legislature.
Senator Howell, who is the ranking Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, said, “This was not only the right thing to do; it was the will of the people. Virginians overwhelmingly want Medicaid expansion.”
Fairfax County Democratic Committee Chair Dan Lagana said: “Democrats are justifiably proud to support legislation that brings so many widespread and universally agreed upon positive benefits and advantages to our Commonwealth. This gives us plenty to talk about in the coming months as we prepare for next year’s statewide elections.”