Did House GOP resort to bribery to keep 400K Virginians uninsured?

state-capitol-headerCalling it a ‘new low in GOP health care obstructionism’, Americans United for Change issued the following statement reacting to the Washington Post’s reporting that Virginia House Republicans appear to have persuaded a Democratic senator to resign his seat – “paving the way to appoint his daughter to a judgeship”  – which will temporarily tip control of the Va Senate to the GOP and further impede the governor’s push to close the coverage gap under the Affordable Care Act.

“If these highly suspicious developments are found to be as bad as it looks, it will signal a new low in Republican healthcare obstructionism,” said Jeremy Funk, Comm. Dir. Americans United for Change. “It shows they are even willing to stoop to bribery to keep 400,000 Virginians without coverage and one health emergency away from bankruptcy. Resorting to shady backroom deals shows that Virginia Republicans have seen the polling and know they’ve lost the public debate over closing the coverage gap.  Republicans know they have no good answer for why they want Virginians who do have insurance to continue paying around $1,000 more in premiums every year to make up for uncompensated ER careincurred by the uninsured.

“They know there’s no excuse for refusing to accept resources sitting on the table from the federal government to cover 400,000 Virginians for three free years and pick up 90% of the tab after that. Republicans know that amounts to around 5 percent more than what the state would have spent on Medicaid anyways in the absence of the Affordable Care Act.  But in return for that tiny investment three years down the road, it will save thousands of lives, boost Virginia’s economy by $3.9 billion annually and created 30,000 jobs.  The health and economic benefits far outweigh the costs.  We’re talking about hard-working Virginians that are not impoverished enough to qualify for Medicaid but earn too much to qualify for subsidies to get private insurance in the new health law’s Exchange.   But if Virginia Republicans only want to deal in quid pro quos, here’s one where everyone wins: take the available ACA resources today in exchange for saving lives, lowering premiums, and creating jobs in Virginia”

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