Virginia Organizing Chairperson Sandra A. Cook released the following statement:
“Gov. Bob McDonnell began his budget amendment presentation saying that he wants to ensure all citizens have access to a better quality of life and the American dream. Unfortunately, Governor McDonnell has failed to consider the quality of life of the estimated 420,000 Virginians who would have benefited from the Medicaid expansion.
“These individuals and families that would have qualified for Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act will now be left out in the cold and forced to continue to use emergency rooms for non-emergent medical problems. These are medical problems that could have been addressed at a lower cost to the state and to those private hospitals by a physician in a doctor’s office.
“Make no mistake, removing the federal Medicaid expansion money from the budget does not help Virginia or save our Commonwealth any money. Without expanding Medicaid, the people of Virginia will continue to see their federal tax dollars support people of other states without any benefit to our own Commonwealth.
“The Governor’s budget states, as a result of the U.S. Supreme Court decision making Medicaid expansion optional for states, the expansion is a policy issue not to be addressed in his budget recommendations. Virginia Organizing believes this is Governor McDonnell’s way of shirking responsibility and refusing to provide the critical leadership needed to expand health care for hundreds of thousands of low-income Virginians and their families.
“The ball is now in the court of the General Assembly to lead the charge on expanding Medicaid and ensure that Virginians receive the benefits available under the Affordable Care Act. It is important to note that these benefits are funded 100% by the federal government for three years and slowly decreasing to 90% thereafter.
“What I cannot understand is why the Governor would choose to deny federally funded benefits to Virginians. Medicaid expansion will help single moms, people working in a variety of professions, including tourism, construction, and even education.
“Virginia Organizing will continue to support Medicaid expansion in Virginia and work to make this a reality for the hundreds of thousands of real people who will benefit from the law.”
As part of Virginia Organizing’s ongoing campaign to expand Medicaid for Virginians in need, several events will take place across Virginia this week to educate people on the need for this expansion.