Sen. Warner meets with Virginia parents opposed to steep Medicaid cuts

U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) today met in his Capitol Hill office with parents and educators from across Virginia who are deeply concerned about the impact of proposed Medicaid cuts on Virginia children and families.

mark warnerA congressional Republican proposal to cut-and-cap federal Medicaid funding by $839 billion would severely impact the availability of community-based services for lower-income, disabled and elderly Virginians, including two-out-of-three Virginia nursing home residents.

In addition, Virginia school districts receive about $33 million in federal Medicaid reimbursements for school-based services each year, providing critically important services such as school nurses, special classroom aides and health diagnostic services to eligible children.

A list of federal Medicaid reimbursements by Virginia school district, compiled by Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) and released yesterday, is available here.

“These federal cuts to Medicaid will have a direct impact on the ability of thousands of Virginians to access effective, community-based care,” Sen. Warner said. “What’s worse is, these federal funding cuts simply push the cost down to the state and localities — and ultimately to parents. That’s not just ‘mean:’ it will deprive access for thousands of children to services that accommodate their special needs and help them grow into more independent adults.”

Sen. Warner met today in his Capitol Hill office with concerned families and children from Roanoke,Charlottesville, Ashland, Virginia Beach, Fairfax and Arlington. Health providers and disability advocates from Danville, Richmond and Warrenton also attended, as well as school administrators from Fairfax and Alexandria.

“When Virginians hear about cutting and capping Medicaid, they should recognize this about more than numbers. It’s about Josh from the Roanoke Valley, Matt and Chris from Ashland, and Charlie and her parents in Charlottesville,” Sen. Warner said. “It’s about providing support and services to families. It’s about improving quality of life and providing independence for our disabled citizens. And it’s about peace of mind for so many Virginia parents like these who have extraordinary children with special needs.”

Among the personal stories Sen. Warner heard today:

  • Marlo Dean’s 15-year-old son Dante has intensive health needs because of a rare brain disorder. Dante just received a Medicaid waiver after being on the waiting list for 10 years. “Cutting Medicaid is not the right thing — it’s not the humane thing,” Dean, from Virginia Beach, told Sen. Warner.
  • Tom and Kim Goodloe of Ashland brought their twin sons, both of whom were born with a rare genetic disease. The Goodloes spoke of decades of challenges meeting the medical and financial needs of their two sons. “To us and these other families, rolling-back Medicaid is not just a worry — it is a terror,” Kim Goodloe told Sen. Warner. “It is beyond my imagination that we would cut Medicaid. It would jeopardize everything we have been fighting for for years.”
  • Angie Leonard of Botetourt County attended with her 22-year-old autistic son, Joshua. Leonard says Medicaid helped provide community-based services so her son could attend school, enter the workforce and live independently.
  • Rebecca Wood of Charlottesville brought her daughter, Charlie, who was born three-and-a-half months early and could face a lifetime of chronic health challenges. Rebecca worries about a reduction in Medicaid services as well as Republican healthcare proposals to allow insurers to once again deny coverage due to pre-existing conditions — or put a lifetime cap on insurance benefits. “I can’t believe I’m going legislator to legislator begging for the future of my child,” Wood said. “Our country is better than this.”

Senator Warner has long advocated for making changes to improve the 2010 Affordable Care Act, including a no-frills, lower cost option, allowing insurers to sell policies across state lines, and elimination of certain regulations and paperwork requirements faced by smaller employers.

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