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Results tagged “Budget”

July 10, 2014

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The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports, "Republican opponents of expanding Virginia's Medicaid program want the General Assembly to debate the idea in late September, but Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Democratic legislators say they're still waiting for the GOP's plan to close the health coverage gap for hundreds of thousands of uninsured Virginians. House Speaker William J. Howell, R-Stafford, the leader of legislative opposition to using federal funds to expand health coverage, said Wednesday that he will call the House into session the week of Sept. 22 to debate the issue."

Progressive Point: Virginians deserve the same health security offered to citizens of every other state under the Affordable Care Act. Speaker Howell and his Tea Party allies have rejected compromise after compromise in their efforts to block 400,000 Virginians from accessing quality, affordable care. Now Howell is playing more political games instead of offering a plan to help Virginia families and bring our tax dollars back to the Commonwealth.

Speaker Howell and Tea Party politicians have repeatedly rejected compromise and refused to come to the table to help working families. Virginians shouldn't expect anything different from a new special session--just more of the same lies and obstruction. It is no secret that Tea Party politicians are unwilling to engage in any serious discussion around closing our Commonwealth's coverage gap. If the Speaker and the Tea Party were serious about finding a solution, they would offer a plan instead of just scheduling the next time they plan to say no.

Get the Facts:

  • Speaker Howell has said will call the Virginia House of Delegates into session the week of Sept. 22 to debate health care expansion. As of today, the Virginia's Republicans have no plan for expanding health coverage or compromise. The Virginia State Senate has previously put forward a bipartisan plan for expansion and Gov. Terry McAuliffe has recently instructed Secretary of Health and Human Resources Bill Hazel to put forward a plan by Sept. 1. (Richmond Times-Dispatch, July 9, 2014)

  • Conservative legislators in the State Senate went back on their calls for a "clean budget" in June and amended the state budget in their attempt to block closing the health care coverage gap. the amendment required "that the General Assembly authorize any increased spending on Medicaid." (Washington Post, June 13, 2014)

  • Virginia would recover "$692 million in lost coverage gap revenue" for hospitals if Virginia finds a health care compromise. (Roanoke Times, May 5, 2014)

  • Virginia's secretary of health and human resources, William Hazel, reports that Medicaid expansion will produce a savings of $1 billion through 2022. "The estimate represents a swing of more than $1 billion from a Medicaid analysis a year ago, when state health officials estimated a net cost to the state of $137.5 million over the nine-year period. In 2010, the estimated cost of expansion to the state exceeded $2.1 billion over 10 years." (Richmond Times-Dispatch, January 23, 2013)
  • "As many as 400,000 Virginians could gain coverage through a Medicaid expansion, nearly half the total of Virginia's uninsured... expanding Medicaid is part of the chamber's new 'Blueprint Virginia' plan to boost the state economy, which was introduced at Wednesday's meeting." (Daily Press, November 20, 2013)
  • Expanding Medicaid in Virginia will create up to 33,000 jobs according to an analysis by the Senate Finance Committee. Of the over 400,000 Virginians eligible for coverage, more than 70% "live in households where at least one person holds a full- or part-time job." (Richmond Times-Dispatch, December 16, 2012)

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July 2, 2014

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The Washington Post Editorial Board writes, "The Puckett affair poses a new threat to the state's ethical reputation, tarnished by former governor Robert F. McDonnell (R) and his wife, Maureen, who accepted tens of thousands of dollars of gifts, loans and freebies from a favor-seeking Virginia businessman. Mr. McDonnell faces trial starting this month on federal corruption charges. In the Puckett case, as in the case of Mr. McDonnell, the public deserves answers to how it unfolded and whether laws were broken."

Progressive Point: From Bob McDonnell's scandals to today's back room jobs-for-resignation scheme, corruption is quickly becoming too commonplace in our Commonwealth. It is clear the Tea Party leadership in Richmond does not hold ethics in high regard. Virginia's politicians have proven they will not police themselves, and without real ethics reform, the facts show our state's reputation will continue to spiral.

Restoring accountability to Richmond couldn't be more important. We need real ethics reform. That means real gift limits with no loopholes, real penalties to hold law-breakers accountable, and real oversight to make sure politicians comply. In the absence of lawmakers willing to champion ethical standards, our elected officials continue to slide further and further down. Tea Party politicians have gone way too far when they would rather break the law and engage in back room deals rather than help their constituents in need.

Get the Facts:

  • ProgressVA was the first to call for an immediate investigation into allegations House Republicans and Delegate and Tobacco Commission Chair Terry Kilgore cut a deal to provide State Senator Philip Puckett a job at the Tobacco Commission and judgeship for his daughter in exchange for his resignation. In a press call with reporters, ProgressVA executive director Anna Scholl stated, "This kind of quid pro quo involving government resources should be taken very seriously, which is why today we're calling for an investigation into this alleged deal, to determine if state resources have been misappropriated or laws broken." (ProgressVA, June 9, 2014)
  • Conservative legislators in the State Senate went back on their calls for a "clean budget" on June 12, 2014 and amended the state budget in their attempt to block closing the health care coverage gap. the amendment requires "that the General Assembly authorize any increased spending on Medicaid." (Washington Post, June 13, 2014)

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June 27, 2014

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The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports, "A series of emails from the interim director of the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission outline plans devised by Del. Terry Kilgore, R-Scott, to offer Sen. Phillip P. Puckett, D-Russell, a senior job with the commission after his resignation from the Virginia Senate. The emails, obtained by the Richmond Times-Dispatch, document the overtures made by Kilgore through the commission in the week leading up to Puckett's June 9 resignation, which effectively transferred power from Senate Democrats to Senate Republicans -- giving the GOP a majority in the evenly divided chamber prior to a crucial vote on the state budget and Medicaid expansion."

Progressive Point: Virginians expect our leaders to work together to get things done. Trying to bribe legislators with cushy state jobs to block closing the coverage gap should be beneath any representative. Tea Party officials using corruption to circumvent compromise doesn't serve constituents or the Commonwealth.

Underhanded schemes and backroom deals are simply unacceptable. Emails detailing Del. Terry Kilgore's arrangement with Sen. Phil Puckett for a cushy job at the Tobacco Commission reveal the Tea Party's willingness to bypass ethics and go straight to corruption. Sadly, these emails are just the latest sign that Speaker Howell and Del. Kilgore will go to any length to deny health care to 400,000 Virginians.

Get the Facts:

  • ProgressVA was the first to call for an immediate investigation into allegations House Republicans and Delegate and Tobacco Commission Chair Terry Kilgore cut a deal to provide State Senator Philip Puckett a job at the Tobacco Commission and judgeship for his daughter in exchange for his resignation. In a press call with reporters, ProgressVA executive director Anna Scholl stated, "This kind of quid pro quo involving government resources should be taken very seriously, which is why today we're calling for an investigation into this alleged deal, to determine if state resources have been misappropriated or laws broken." (ProgressVA, June 9, 2014)
  • Conservative legislators in the State Senate went back on their calls for a "clean budget" on June 12, 2014 and amended the state budget in their attempt to block closing the health care coverage gap. the amendment requires "that the General Assembly authorize any increased spending on Medicaid." (Washington Post, June 13, 2014)
  • Expanding Medicaid in Virginia will create up to 33,000 jobs according to an analysis by the Senate Finance Committee. Of the over 400,000 Virginians eligible for coverage, more than 70% "live in households where at least one person holds a full- or part-time job." (Richmond Times-Dispatch, December 16, 2012)

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June 23, 2014

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The Daily Press reports, "Speaker of the House William Howell declared a key pair of gubernatorial vetoes unconstitutional Monday evening, furthering a political power struggle over Medicaid expansion in Virginia. The issue - and the larger argument over whether Gov. Terry McAuliffe can expand Medicaid without legislative approval - seems to be headed for a court battle... As Howell announced his decision, labor union advocates in the House gallery stood and turned their backs to the chamber. They said later that's what House Republicans did to people who would benefit from expansion."

Progressive Point: The House of Delegates has repeatedly refused to do their job rather than work together for Virginians. Last night's legislative shenanigans were the latest in a long string of political pigheadedness by House conservatives. These Tea Party politicians are either unable or unwilling to engage in any serious discussion around closing our Commonwealth's coverage gap. For four years now, the House has rejected compromise after compromise and refused to help working families.

Tea Party legislators' agenda had one goal: block any compromise that would extend health care to 400,000 low-income Virginians. Torpedoing every effort just to appease Tea Party partisans hurts the health of our Commonwealth and our families. Virginians shouldn't be continually surprised and disappointed by how far House conservatives will go to prevent their own constituents from getting access to the health care they desperately need right now.

Get the Facts:

  • Last night in Richmond, over 30 advocates for closing the coverage gap gathered in the House of Delegates gallery to witness the House turn their backs on uninsured Virginians. When the House refused to take any further action on measures regarding Medicaid Expansion, advocates in the gallery rose and turned their backs on the legislature, a silent protest for the 400,000 Virginians in the coverage gap the House continues to ignore. Speaker Howell circumvented the legislative process and refused to allow the House to consider the Governor's vetoes relating to Medicaid and expansion, setting up a courtroom showdown. (ProgressVA, June 23, 2014)
  • "I am continually surprised and disappointed by the lengths to which Republicans in the House of Delegates will go to prevent their own constituents from getting access to health care. Instead of putting all of my vetoes through the process prescribed by the Constitution of Virginia, House Republicans robbed the voters of their voice by using a procedural gimmick to obstruct the normal legislative process where this veto was concerned. If my veto was as objectionable as House leadership claimed, they should not have had any difficulty overriding it in both chambers. Instead, the Speaker elected to exercise powers that the Constitution of Virginia reserves solely for members of the Judicial Branch." (Governor Terry McAuliffe, June 23, 2014)
  •  
    • Caucus Chair Sen. Donald McEachin (D - Henrico), "Speaker Howell's transparently partisan decree means legislators never even got to vote on Gov. McAuliffe's veto. Instead of letting legislators do their job, he took matters into his own hands and prevented the fair debate that Virginians expect and deserve. This is not the Virginia way - it's the kind of hyper-partisan obstruction that voters expect from Washington. All Virginians deserve better - especially the countless uninsured families whom House Republicans refuse to help."
  •  
    • Democratic Leader Sen. Dick Saslaw (D - Fairfax), "There are many Republican governors who are expanding Medicaid, but once again, the obstinacy of House Republicans means that up to 400,000 uninsured Virginians - most from working families - still don't have access to quality, affordable health care. It's unfortunate that House Republicans can't acknowledge that people need health care. The House of Delegates sees nothing wrong with taxing Virginians twice by refusing to bring back the tax dollars that we've already sent to Washington."

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June 19, 2014

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ProgressVA Executive Director Anna Scholl released the following statement in reaction to Governor Terry McAuliffe's budget announcements: "Governor McAuliffe took a definite step forward today towards closing the coverage gap. While there is still more work to be done, these actions demonstrate a commitment to the 400,000 Virginians who deserve access to affordable, quality health care. The House of Delegates has repeatedly refused to compromise, turning their backs on their constituents in favor of blatant political gamesmanship."

Progressive Point: It's past time our elected officials in Richmond put the needs of their constituents before political games. Expanding health care to the hundreds of thousands of working Virginians who desperately need it means saving money, saving lives, and a stronger and healthier Commonwealth. Across the country, conservative governors and legislatures are closing the health care coverage gap because they know what's best for the people of their states. Governor McAuliffe made clear today there is no excuse not to move forward and close it here.

Working Virginians deserve legislators that work for them. That means coming to the table to decide how to provide the same health security to Virginians offered to citizens in every other state. Speaker Howell and his Tea Party caucus have rejected compromise after compromise. It's past time to end their political games, deceptions, and back room deals and come to the table to find a solution that closes the coverage gap. 

Get the Facts:

Governor McAuliffe's full statement on his budget actions is available via Blue Virginia.

Del. Scott Surovell breaks down Governor McAuliffe's vetoes: 

Veto #1 - Medicaid Innovation Review Commission
The Governor has vetoed the Medicaid Innovation and Review Committee (MIRC).  The MIRC was created as a compromise in the 2013 session after some members objected to passing the Governor's transportation package without also passing Medicaid Expansion.  We were promised that the MIRC would lead to expansion.  It has done nothing.

The Governor also believes that the MIRC is a "sham" and he has directed his staff to stop participating in meetings or providing information.

Veto #2 - Stanley Amendment Banning Medicaid Expansion
The Governor has also vetoed "the Stanley Amendment" to the budget which specifically prohibited a Medicaid Expansion without the approval of the legislature.  There is no money tied to this language so the Governor believes it may be vetoed on its own.

Veto #3 - Funding for New Judgeships
The Governor has vetoed all funding for new judgeships.  He believes that funding judgeships and leaving a special session open for appointments is an assault on his power as Governor (the Governor gets to appoint temporary judges to Circuit Court and appellate courts if we are out of session).

Veto #4 - Chesterfield-Petersburg School Partnership
The Governor is vetoing language allowing Chesterfield County to partner with Petersburg City on public schools.  The Governor believes this is rife with legal problems and was not requested by either locality.

Veto #5 - $4.6 Million cut from FACT Fund
The legislature created the FACT Fund to deal with contingencies created by cuts caused by the sequester.  The Governor believes that these cuts are an assault on Virginia's military and he does not support it.

Veto #6 - Funding for Ethics Advisory Commission
The Governor argues that the ethics legislation passed by the General Assembly this year was window dressing that did little (I agree with him).  He has vetoed money to pay for staff for a new Ethics Advisory Commission and he will introduce legislation next session.

Veto #7 - Forfeiture & Settlements
There was language inserted in the budget that limited how the Attorney General could use monies recovered from forfeitures and settlements.  The Governor vetoed this language at the request of the Attorney General.

June 20, 2014

ProgressVA Executive Director Anna Scholl released the following statement in reaction to Governor Terry McAuliffe's budget announcements: "Governor McAuliffe took a definite step forward today towards closing the coverage gap. While there is still more work to be done, these actions demonstrate a commitment to the 400,000 Virginians who deserve access to affordable, quality health care. The House of Delegates has repeatedly refused to compromise, turning their backs on their constituents in favor of blatant political gamesmanship.

"We also applaud the Governor's veto of funding for the Virginia Conflict of Interest and Ethics Advisory Council. As we've said repeatedly, the 'ethics reform' legislation passed this year is a sham that includes no real reforms or penalties. Virginians should be embarrassed that again and again we have to rely on federal officials to root out corruption in Virginia. The Governor's commitment to introducing real ethics reform legislation in the 2015 legislative session is a real step forward and we hope legislators will get on board."

June 19, 2014

A diverse group of 21 health care advocates including doctors, faith leaders, health care providers, mental health advocates, consumer advocates, and localities issued the following statement today in a press call, urging Governor McAuliffe to veto the budget.

"Governor McAuliffe should veto the budget sent to him by the General Assembly. Our organizations have tirelessly advocated for years to provide quality, affordable health care for all Virginians, and we are outraged that the General Assembly has failed to close the coverage gap.

"Closing the gap would bring billions of dollars into the state, create jobs, and save lives. We urge Governor McAuliffe to take a stand against a budget full of such misplaced priorities, and refuse to sign a budget that does not close the coverage gap."

The statement was signed by the following organizations:

AARP Virginia
Mental Health America of Virginia
Mental Health America of Central Virginia
Mental Health America of New River Valley
Mental Health Association of Fauquier County
National Association of Social Workers - Virginia Chapter
National Physicians Alliance - Virginia
Our Lady Queen of Peace Church, Arlington
Progress VA Education Fund
Social Action Linking Together (SALT)
The Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis
Virginia AFL-CIO
Virginia Chapter of Doctors for America
Virginia Chapter, National Organization for Women
Virginia Consumer Voices for Healthcare
Virginia First Cities
Virginia Hemophilia Foundation
Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy
Virginia New Majority
Virginia Poverty Law Center
Virginia Rural Health Association

Dr. Chris Lillis, primary care provider in Fredericksburg and Virginia State Director, Doctors for America: "Expanding Medicaid will allow for coordinated, primary care for hard working Virginians who have this historic opportunity to gain access to health insurance. Primary care, especially the coordinated care of chronic disease, leads to healthier lives and less cost for our health system as a whole. Closing the Coverage Gap is the right thing to do for Virginia. It is a decision that puts patients ahead of politics."

Michael Cassidy, President & CEO, The Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis: "Lawmakers passed a deeply flawed spending plan that denies 400,000 hardworking Virginians quality, affordable health care. But they also have passed up another $250 million in lost state budget savings as well as tax revenues that would be generated by the creation of some 20,000 health care jobs. These misplaced priorities have led to even deeper cuts to K-12 education, health care, public safety, and other key public investments. Taken together these misguided decisions undermine the state's long-term economic strength."

Marco Grimaldo, CEO & President, Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy: "The Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy has consistently called for a moral budget that lifts up all Virginians and offers a helping hand to low-income people in the Commonwealth. Insomuch as this budget does not expand access to health care through Medicaid, we call on Gov. McAulliffe to veto the bill and ask the General Assembly to approve a budget with Medicaid."

June 19, 2014

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The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports, "The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating the circumstances surrounding the recent resignation of state Sen. Phillip P. Puckett, D-Russell, including his alleged consideration for a job on the state tobacco commission and the pending judicial appointment of his daughter in Southwest Virginia. Sources familiar with the probe, speaking on condition of anonymity, said representatives of the FBI and United States Attorney's Office for the Western District of Virginia have been conducting interviews, including with elected officials who may have knowledge of the chain of events."

Progressive Point: The culture of corruption in Richmond has gone too far. Legislators are now under investigation for their bribery scheme to block health care for 400,000 working Virginians. From Bob McDonnell's Gift-gate scandal to attacking voting rights on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Virginians suffer when unethical behavior has become business-as-usual for Tea Party politicians like Speaker Howell, Sen. Black, and Del. Kilgore.

Virginians expect our leaders to work together and protect the reputation of our state. Instead, conservatives rejected compromise, went back on their word, and engaged in bribery schemes just so they could block closing the coverage gap for 400,000 Virginians. Extremist politicians have taken over the General Assembly and demonstrated they would rather break the law and engage in back room deals rather than help their constituents in need.

Get the Facts:

  • ProgressVA was the first to call for an immediate investigation into allegations House Republicans and Delegate and Tobacco Commission Chair Terry Kilgore cut a deal to provide State Senator Philip Puckett a job at the Tobacco Commission and judgeship for his daughter in exchange for his resignation. In a press call with reporters, ProgressVA executive director Anna Scholl stated, "This kind of quid pro quo involving government resources should be taken very seriously, which is why today we're calling for an investigation into this alleged deal, to determine if state resources have been misappropriated or laws broken." (ProgressVA, June 9, 2014) 
  • Conservative legislators in the State Senate went back on their calls for a "clean budget" last night and amended the state budget in their attempt to block closing the health care coverage gap. the amendment requires "that the General Assembly authorize any increased spending on Medicaid." (Washington Post, June 13, 2014) 
  • In January 2013, GOP legislators snuck through a secret plan to redraw Virginia's State Senate disctricts while Sen. Marsh (D), a civil rights leader, attended the second inauguration of the nation's first black president, being held on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. The conservative plan manipulated the voter district lines and the Electoral College. (ProgressVA, January 28, 2013)
  • Expanding Medicaid in Virginia will create up to 33,000 jobs according to an analysis by the Senate Finance Committee. Of the over 400,000 Virginians eligible for coverage, more than 70% "live in households where at least one person holds a full- or part-time job." (Richmond Times-Dispatch, December 16, 2012) 

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June 16, 2014

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The Prince William Times editorializes, "We accept that politics is a always dirty business but this week's General Assembly drama may be a new low for Virginia...It's true that America has a long tradition of legal gray-scale bribery in politics. Lobbyists give campaign donations in exchange for special consideration and legislators can promise my vote on your bill in exchange for your vote on mine. But personal jobs, favors and money crosses the line. [State Sen. Phillip P. Puckett (D-Russell)]'s well-timed resignation in exchange for a job may not be outright illegal, but it's outright unethical."

Progressive Point: Across the Commonwealth, working Virginia families have been left struggling without health care by their own elected officials. Last week, conservative legislators voted against getting those families the health coverage they desperately need. The General Assembly has chosen a Tea Party budget over extending health security to low income Virginians, and embraced bribing politicians to push their right wing agenda through Richmond.

Tea Party legislators hijacked the biennial budget last week to attack 400,000 low-income Virginians now stranded without health care. These same Senators and Delegates discarded their calls for a clean budget because compromise to them has now become a dirty word. Our Commonwealth's budget should reflect Virginia values--instead Richmond politicians ignored our priorities to appease Tea Party extremists.

Get the Facts:

  • Conservative legislators in the State Senate went back on their calls for a "clean budget" last night and amended the state budget in their attempt to block closing the health care coverage gap. the amendment requires "that the General Assembly authorize any increased spending on Medicaid." (Washington Post, June 13, 2014)

  • Virginia would recover "$692 million in lost coverage gap revenue" for hospitals if Virginia finds a health care compromise. (Roanoke Times, May 5, 2014)

  • Virginia's secretary of health and human resources, William Hazel, reports that Medicaid expansion will produce a savings of $1 billion through 2022. "The estimate represents a swing of more than $1 billion from a Medicaid analysis a year ago, when state health officials estimated a net cost to the state of $137.5 million over the nine-year period. In 2010, the estimated cost of expansion to the state exceeded $2.1 billion over 10 years." (Richmond Times-Dispatch, January 23, 2013)
  • "As many as 400,000 Virginians could gain coverage through a Medicaid expansion, nearly half the total of Virginia's uninsured... expanding Medicaid is part of the chamber's new 'Blueprint Virginia' plan to boost the state economy, which was introduced at Wednesday's meeting." (Daily Press, November 20, 2013)
  • Expanding Medicaid in Virginia will create up to 33,000 jobs according to an analysis by the Senate Finance Committee. Of the over 400,000 Virginians eligible for coverage, more than 70% "live in households where at least one person holds a full- or part-time job." (Richmond Times-Dispatch, December 16, 2012)

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June 13, 2014

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The Washington Post reports, "The Virginia General Assembly adopted a long-delayed state budget late Thursday, acting after an hours-long debate among newly ascendant Senate Republicans who fought among themselves over whether the plan threw up sufficient barriers to Medicaid expansion... But they first amended it in a way intended to make it harder to expand the federal-state healthcare program for the poor under the federal Affordable Care Act -- Gov. Terry McAuliffe's top legislative priority."

Progressive Point: When elected officials lie to their constituents they must be held accountable. Tea Partiers legislative action last night against low-income Virginians without health care undermines their six months of deceitful words calling for a "clean" budget. They attached punitive amendments to the budget to prohibit closing the coverage gap in a mean-spirited attempt to deny Virginians affordable health care for years to come. The Tea Party has taken over the Virginia General Assembly and has zero interest in helping the thousands of Virginia families who are struggling to make ends meet and cover medical bills.

George Washington's motto was "Deeds, not words." Neither the deeds nor words of Tea Party legislators in our Commonwealth today can hold a candle to his legacy. Their actions last night revealed that their repeated calls for a "clean" budget were disingenuous at best and an outright deception at worst. Virginians expect our leaders to work together. Instead, conservatives rejected compromise and went back on their word just so they further block closing the coverage gap for 400,000 Virginians. 

Get the Facts:

  • Conservative legislators in the State Senate went back on their calls for a "clean budget" last night and amended the state budget in their attempt to block closing the health care coverage gap. the amendment requires "that the General Assembly authorize any increased spending on Medicaid." (Washington Post, June 13, 2014)

  • Virginia would recover "$692 million in lost coverage gap revenue" for hospitals if Virginia finds a health care compromise. (Roanoke Times, May 5, 2014)

  • Virginia's secretary of health and human resources, William Hazel, reports that Medicaid expansion will produce a savings of $1 billion through 2022. "The estimate represents a swing of more than $1 billion from a Medicaid analysis a year ago, when state health officials estimated a net cost to the state of $137.5 million over the nine-year period. In 2010, the estimated cost of expansion to the state exceeded $2.1 billion over 10 years." (Richmond Times-Dispatch, January 23, 2013)
  • "As many as 400,000 Virginians could gain coverage through a Medicaid expansion, nearly half the total of Virginia's uninsured... expanding Medicaid is part of the chamber's new 'Blueprint Virginia' plan to boost the state economy, which was introduced at Wednesday's meeting." (Daily Press, November 20, 2013)
  • Expanding Medicaid in Virginia will create up to 33,000 jobs according to an analysis by the Senate Finance Committee. Of the over 400,000 Virginians eligible for coverage, more than 70% "live in households where at least one person holds a full- or part-time job." (Richmond Times-Dispatch, December 16, 2012)

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June 12, 2014

The Virginia GOP revealed tonight that their repeated calls for a "clean" budget were disingenuous at best and an outright deception at worst. Days after engineering the resignation of a State Senator in order to grab control of the upper chamber, Republicans abandoned their oft-cited call for a "clean" budget and instead overtly threatened to torpedo the state budget unless the General Assembly agreed to legislation prohibiting future Medicaid expansion.

"Virginia Republicans finally revelaed today that they've been lying to their constituents for months about their wish for a clean budget," said ProgressVA executive director Anna Scholl. "Offered a so-called clean budget without a provision for closing the coverage gap for 400,000 Virginians, Republicans reneged on supporting the budget unless their demands for additional amendments prohibiting Medicaid expansion were met. The GOP has demonstrated tonight that they have absolutely zero interest in engaging in an honest conversation about how to close the coverage gap and help the thousands of Virginia families who are struggling to make ends meet and cover medical bills. Shame on them."

June 12, 2014

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Public News Service reports, "Hundreds are expected to call on Virginia House members to compromise on a Medicaid solution at rallies, vigils and other events beginning today. Virginia legislators are debating whether to accept federal Medicaid funding to extend insurance coverage to up to 400,000 Virginians. Anna Scholl, director of Progress VA, said the idea has strong support in the state, including endorsements from 15 local Chambers of Commerce. She said there are no losers if the state accepts the money."

Progressive Point: Today, many Virginia families don't have health care. Tonight our representatives can ensure more working families get coverage. Expanding health insurance access means saving money, saving lives, and a stronger and healthier Commonwealth for everyone. Across the country, conservative governors and legislatures are closing the health care coverage gap because they know what's best for the people of their states--there is no excuse not to here.

Every working Virginian deserves the same health security offered to citizens in every other state. Speaker Howell and his caucus must move forward to extend health coverage to the low-income Virginians who desperately need it. Families currently without health security will not go away just because conservatives want to leave them behind. True leaders keep working until they find compromise, so our Commonwealth can move forward, and to ensure their constituents have the care they need to get ahead.

Click here to find the closest Virginia Vigil for Health Care to you tonight where you can speak out to close the coverage gap.

Get the Facts:

  • Virginia would recover "$692 million in lost coverage gap revenue" for hospitals if Virginia finds a health care compromise. (Roanoke Times, May 5, 2014)

  • Virginia's secretary of health and human resources, William Hazel, reports that Medicaid expansion will produce a savings of $1 billion through 2022. "The estimate represents a swing of more than $1 billion from a Medicaid analysis a year ago, when state health officials estimated a net cost to the state of $137.5 million over the nine-year period. In 2010, the estimated cost of expansion to the state exceeded $2.1 billion over 10 years." (Richmond Times-Dispatch, January 23, 2013)
  • "As many as 400,000 Virginians could gain coverage through a Medicaid expansion, nearly half the total of Virginia's uninsured... expanding Medicaid is part of the chamber's new 'Blueprint Virginia' plan to boost the state economy, which was introduced at Wednesday's meeting." (Daily Press, November 20, 2013)
  • Expanding Medicaid in Virginia will create up to 33,000 jobs according to an analysis by the Senate Finance Committee. Of the over 400,000 Virginians eligible for coverage, more than 70% "live in households where at least one person holds a full- or part-time job." (Richmond Times-Dispatch, December 16, 2012)

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June 10, 2014

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The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports, "The Richmond City Council voted overwhelmingly Monday to express its support for Medicaid expansion in Virginia, a symbolic gesture that comes as the state budget fight is heating up across the street from City Hall. The council voted 8-0 to approve a resolution urging the General Assembly to 'develop and implement in the Commonwealth of Virginia a plan to provide more Virginians with access to affordable health care coverage and services.'"

Progressive Point: True leaders work to ensure their constituents have the care and opportunities they need to get ahead. Speaker Howell and his conservative cronies consider keeping health coverage from 400,000 low-income Virginians who badly need part of a "clean budget." There is nothing clean about elected officials who offer state jobs as gifts so they can pass the buck on helping vulnerable Virginians.

Our Commonwealth needs leaders who prioritize protecting low-income Virginians. Helping the weakest amongst us makes our communities stronger. Working families across the Commonwealth without the care they need deserve the same health security offered to the elected officials who are supposed to represent them. Every district depends on leaders coming to the table to compromise, but Speaker Howell and his caucus insist on slamming the door.

Get the Facts:

  • Virginia would recover "$692 million in lost coverage gap revenue" for hospitals if Virginia finds a health care compromise. (Roanoke Times, May 5, 2014)

  • Virginia's secretary of health and human resources, William Hazel, reports that Medicaid expansion will produce a savings of $1 billion through 2022. "The estimate represents a swing of more than $1 billion from a Medicaid analysis a year ago, when state health officials estimated a net cost to the state of $137.5 million over the nine-year period. In 2010, the estimated cost of expansion to the state exceeded $2.1 billion over 10 years." (Richmond Times-Dispatch, January 23, 2013)
  • "As many as 400,000 Virginians could gain coverage through a Medicaid expansion, nearly half the total of Virginia's uninsured... expanding Medicaid is part of the chamber's new 'Blueprint Virginia' plan to boost the state economy, which was introduced at Wednesday's meeting." (Daily Press, November 20, 2013)
  • Expanding Medicaid in Virginia will create up to 33,000 jobs according to an analysis by the Senate Finance Committee. Of the over 400,000 Virginians eligible for coverage, more than 70% "live in households where at least one person holds a full- or part-time job." (Richmond Times-Dispatch, December 16, 2012)

June 9, 2014

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The Washington Post reports, "Sen. Phillip P. Puckett (D-Russell) will announce his resignation Monday, effective immediately, paving the way to appoint his daughter to a judgeship and Puckett to the job of deputy director of the state tobacco commission, three people familiar with the plan said Sunday... The news prompted outrage among Democrats -- and accusations that Republicans were trying to buy the Senate with job offers in order to thwart McAuliffe's proposal to expand health coverage to 400,000 low-income Virginians."

Progressive Point: Conservatives have reached a new low in their opposition to expanding badly needed health care for low-income Virginians. Speaker Bill Howell and Del. Terry Kilgore showed they are even willing to use the offer of government jobs as political leverage to prevent closing the coverage gap for 400,000 Virginians.

Virginians support leaders who know how to work across the aisle and get things done. But conservatives are going to any length to crush compromise and prevent closing the health coverage gap for 400,000 Virginians. Offering jobs and judicial nominations should be below any elected official. It's time for Speaker Howell and the House of Delegates to stop the shady political games and come to the table to find a solution that closes the coverage gap.

Get the Facts:

  • Virginia would recover "$692 million in lost coverage gap revenue" for hospitals if Virginia finds a health care compromise. (Roanoke Times, May 5, 2014)

  • Virginia's secretary of health and human resources, William Hazel, reports that Medicaid expansion will produce a savings of $1 billion through 2022. "The estimate represents a swing of more than $1 billion from a Medicaid analysis a year ago, when state health officials estimated a net cost to the state of $137.5 million over the nine-year period. In 2010, the estimated cost of expansion to the state exceeded $2.1 billion over 10 years." (Richmond Times-Dispatch, January 23, 2013)
  • "As many as 400,000 Virginians could gain coverage through a Medicaid expansion, nearly half the total of Virginia's uninsured... expanding Medicaid is part of the chamber's new 'Blueprint Virginia' plan to boost the state economy, which was introduced at Wednesday's meeting." (Daily Press, November 20, 2013)
  • Expanding Medicaid in Virginia will create up to 33,000 jobs according to an analysis by the Senate Finance Committee. Of the over 400,000 Virginians eligible for coverage, more than 70% "live in households where at least one person holds a full- or part-time job." (Richmond Times-Dispatch, December 16, 2012)

June 9, 2014

ProgressVA executive director Anna Scholl called for an immediate investigation into allegations House Republicans and Delegate and Tobacco Commission Chair Terry Kilgore cut a deal to provide State Senator Philip Puckett a job at the Tobacco Commission and judgeship for his daughter in exchange for his resignation. In a press call with reporters, Scholl stated, "This kind of quid pro quo involving government resources should be taken very seriously, which is why today we're calling for an investigation into this alleged deal, to determine if state resources have been misappropriated or laws broken."

Responding to breaking news that Senator Puckett may now decline to accept the position, Scholl added, "It's absolutely appropriate for Senator Puckett and the Tobacco Commission to reconsider this arrangement. However, Virginians still deserve answers regarding how and when Speaker Howell and Delegate Kilgore offered state jobs to Senator and his family in exchange for political leverage.

"This episode underscores is the lengths to which Speaker Howell and his caucus are apparently willing to go to prevent closing the coverage gap and extending affordable and quality health care to 400,000 Virginians. There are thousands of Virginians out there who are struggling to make ends meet and one of the expenses that is breaking the bank for these families is the cost of health care.  These people work hard every day and closing the coverage gap could really help them get by.  Instead of doing what is right, we have politicians here who would rather potentially break the law to score political points with backroom deals than help their constituents who are most in need.  It's despicable and disgusting and they should be ashamed."

June 6, 2014

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The Virginian-Pilot editorial board opines, "For years, hospitals have received tax credits and payments for providing charity care to poor, uninsured patients. For many hospitals, it amounts to millions of dollars, the difference between a profit and a loss. But now that more people are supposed to have insurance under the Affordable Care Act, those federal subsidies will start to disappear."

Progressive Point: Virginia's hospitals provide care to everyone who needs help, regardless of ability to pay. Conservative's refusal to close the health care coverage gap will force a dire financial strain on hospitals and potentially limit their ability to care for low income Virginians. Richmond politicians must prevent further harm to our hospitals and the 400,000 Virginians still without care by compromising and simply putting families' first.

While our leaders should be going on offense for our health and our future, Virginia's medical centers are having to play defense and considering to cutting services. Richmond conservatives's refusal to compromise on health care is straining too many Virginia families. That strain is now about to spread to the services our hospitals provide to those that need them most. Our leaders cannot allow Virginia hospitals and most the most vulnerable to be the victim of partisan politics.

Get the Facts:

  • Virginia would recover "$692 million in lost coverage gap revenue" for hospitals if Virginia finds a health care compromise. (Roanoke Times, May 5, 2014)

  • Virginia's secretary of health and human resources, William Hazel, reports that Medicaid expansion will produce a savings of $1 billion through 2022. "The estimate represents a swing of more than $1 billion from a Medicaid analysis a year ago, when state health officials estimated a net cost to the state of $137.5 million over the nine-year period. In 2010, the estimated cost of expansion to the state exceeded $2.1 billion over 10 years." (Richmond Times-Dispatch, January 23, 2013)
  • "As many as 400,000 Virginians could gain coverage through a Medicaid expansion, nearly half the total of Virginia's uninsured... expanding Medicaid is part of the chamber's new 'Blueprint Virginia' plan to boost the state economy, which was introduced at Wednesday's meeting." (Daily Press, November 20, 2013)
  • Expanding Medicaid in Virginia will create up to 33,000 jobs according to an analysis by the Senate Finance Committee. Of the over 400,000 Virginians eligible for coverage, more than 70% "live in households where at least one person holds a full- or part-time job." (Richmond Times-Dispatch, December 16, 2012)

May 30, 2014

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The Washington Post Editorial Board opines, "With Virginia lacking an enacted budget and facing the growing risk of a government shutdown in just over a month, the top Republicans in the House of Delegates, Speaker William J. Howell (Stafford) and Majority Leader M. Kirkland Cox (Colonial Heights), requested an urgent meeting the other day with Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D)... Mr. Howell and Mr. Cox had the same old one-note message about Medicaid expansion, which 27 states have now embraced. Their message was: No... Mr. Howell and Mr. Cox have no plan to cover the hundreds of thousands of low-income residents of Virginia who lack health insurance. Their only apparent agenda is to deal a political defeat to Mr. McAuliffe, who ran last year on a promise of expanding Medicaid, and by extension to President Obama."

Progressive Point: Virginians expect our leaders to work together. Speaker Howell and his caucus have rejected compromise after compromise to close the health care coverage gap, recklessly manufacturing a crisis. Speaker Howell's refusal to come to the table shows his willingness to sabotage Virginia's economy and our AAA bond rating in order to continue his political attack on affordable health care.

Speaker Howell would shut down Virginia's government and risk our economic growth rather than work across the aisle to ensure all Virginia families can access affordable, quality health care. Meanwhile, Virginia families are the ones who will suffer from Howell's political games. His refusal to compromise and negotiate are putting our Commonwealth at risk. Virginians overwhelmingly agree our leaders need to come to the table and compromise, but Speaker Howell and his caucus insist on being the Party of No.

Get the Facts:

  • Virginia would recover "$692 million in lost coverage gap revenue" for hospitals if Virginia finds a health care compromise. (Roanoke Times, May 5, 2014)

  • Virginia's secretary of health and human resources, William Hazel, reports that Medicaid expansion will produce a savings of $1 billion through 2022. "The estimate represents a swing of more than $1 billion from a Medicaid analysis a year ago, when state health officials estimated a net cost to the state of $137.5 million over the nine-year period. In 2010, the estimated cost of expansion to the state exceeded $2.1 billion over 10 years." (Richmond Times-Dispatch, January 23, 2013)
  • "As many as 400,000 Virginians could gain coverage through a Medicaid expansion, nearly half the total of Virginia's uninsured... expanding Medicaid is part of the chamber's new 'Blueprint Virginia' plan to boost the state economy, which was introduced at Wednesday's meeting." (Daily Press, November 20, 2013)
  • Expanding Medicaid in Virginia will create up to 33,000 jobs according to an analysis by the Senate Finance Committee. Of the over 400,000 Virginians eligible for coverage, more than 70% "live in households where at least one person holds a full- or part-time job." (Richmond Times-Dispatch, December 16, 2012)

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May 28, 2014

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FierceHealthcare reports the University of Virginia Medical Center's, "continued success hinges on the state expanding Medicaid, [Vice President and CEO Edward] Howell told The Roanoke Times. Without it, the facility may lose $40 million a year in Medicaid expansion funding. If Virginia expands Medicaid before 2017, the hospital can thrive, he said. Otherwise, he said the hospital will have to cut back on services in order to continue to treat uninsured and indigent patients. Cutbacks may include transportation and drug benefits for low-income patients and rolling back its education program."

Progressive Point: The financial pains of failing to close our Commonwealth's health care coverage gap continue to mount and the human cost of doing nothing is far worse. The conservative health care blockade is straining too many Virginia families. That strain will soon spread to the services our medical centers can provide to those that need them most. We, our doctors, and our communities are all focused on our families' well being--our legislators should be doing the same.

Hundreds of thousands of Virginians hurt while politicians refuse to close the Commonwealth's health care coverage gap. While our leaders should be going on offense for our health and our future, Virginia's medical centers are playing defense and planning to cut services because these politicians won't compromise. Moving forward on Medicaid is critical in preventing health care cutbacks tomorrow. Ending this health care blockade is critical for ensuring every Virginian has the security of knowing that when they get sick, they can get quality care and still afford to put food on the table.

Get the Facts:

  • Virginia would recover "$692 million in lost coverage gap revenue" for hospitals if Virginia finds a health care compromise. (Roanoke Times, May 5, 2014)

  • Virginia's secretary of health and human resources, William Hazel, reports that Medicaid expansion will produce a savings of $1 billion through 2022. "The estimate represents a swing of more than $1 billion from a Medicaid analysis a year ago, when state health officials estimated a net cost to the state of $137.5 million over the nine-year period. In 2010, the estimated cost of expansion to the state exceeded $2.1 billion over 10 years." (Richmond Times-Dispatch, January 23, 2013)
  • "As many as 400,000 Virginians could gain coverage through a Medicaid expansion, nearly half the total of Virginia's uninsured... expanding Medicaid is part of the chamber's new 'Blueprint Virginia' plan to boost the state economy, which was introduced at Wednesday's meeting." (Daily Press, November 20, 2013)
  • Expanding Medicaid in Virginia will create up to 33,000 jobs according to an analysis by the Senate Finance Committee. Of the over 400,000 Virginians eligible for coverage, more than 70% "live in households where at least one person holds a full- or part-time job." (Richmond Times-Dispatch, December 16, 2012)

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May 21, 2014

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The Commonwealth Institute reports, 'Virginia ranked second-worst among all states for the number of vulnerable minorities who had to go without health care in the last year because of the high cost, according to a new scorecard from The Commonwealth Fund. Only South Carolina ranked below Virginia on this key barometer of well-being. Lawmakers in Richmond could go a long way toward improving this sorry picture by using federal funds that are available to close the coverage gap and provide more Virginians with access to quality, affordable health care."

Progressive Point: It's long overdue for our leaders in Richmond to put aside politics and work to help all Virginia families get ahead. However, today in our Commonwealth a majority of those with low incomes who could benefit from closing Virginia's health care coverage gap are minorities. Our leaders should be working tirelessly to make a better future for every family still caught in the health care coverage gap, not obsessing over old political fights. Health coverage delayed is health coverage denied.

All Commonwealth families deserve the same health coverage offered in every other state. Every working Virginian, regardless of race, color, religion, sex, creed, age, or income level, needs the security of knowing that when they get sick, they can see a doctor without an enormous bill once they've gotten well. Simply put, all Virginians, just like Americans in every other state, need permanent health security and they need it now.

Get the Facts:

  •  
    • 52% of non-elderly adult Virginians without health insurance below the poverty line are minorities, "despite the fact that minorities only represent 34% of Virginia's population."
  •  
    • Virginia is second only to South Carolina in "the number of vulnerable minorities who had to go without health care in the last year because of the high cost."
  • Virginia's secretary of health and human resources, William Hazel, reports that Medicaid expansion will produce a savings of $1 billion through 2022. "The estimate represents a swing of more than $1 billion from a Medicaid analysis a year ago, when state health officials estimated a net cost to the state of $137.5 million over the nine-year period. In 2010, the estimated cost of expansion to the state exceeded $2.1 billion over 10 years." (Richmond Times-Dispatch, January 23, 2013)
  • "As many as 400,000 Virginians could gain coverage through a Medicaid expansion, nearly half the total of Virginia's uninsured... expanding Medicaid is part of the chamber's new 'Blueprint Virginia' plan to boost the state economy, which was introduced at Wednesday's meeting." (Daily Press, November 20, 2013)
  • Expanding Medicaid in Virginia will create up to 33,000 jobs according to an analysis by the Senate Finance Committee. Of the over 400,000 Virginians eligible for coverage, more than 70% "live in households where at least one person holds a full- or part-time job." (Richmond Times-Dispatch, December 16, 2012)

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May 19, 2014

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The Washington Post Editorial Board opines, "Republicans in Virginia's House of Delegates have blocked hundreds of thousands of poor Virginians from getting health insurance under the Obama administration's Medicaid expansion. At the same time, they've refused to suggest any alternative method by which the needy people in the state might arrange health coverage. Meanwhile, the list of Republican governors around the country who want new federal Medicaid funds -- and the huge benefits they bring for their states -- continues to grow. Richmond's just-say-no crowd, led by House Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford), looks increasingly isolated and callous."

Progressive Point: Right now, a handful of conservatives in the House of Delegates are withholding health coverage for hundreds of thousands of Virginians. Their purely political opposition is in its fourth year now, and, without even an alternative plan, is partisanship at its worst. Speaker Howell's conservative crusade against health care comes at dire financial costs to our Commonwealth and at worse costs to working Virginia families without health security.

Across the country, conservative governors and legislatures are closing the health care coverage gap for their constituents - and our families deserve the same here in Virginia. Four years of refusing a health care compromise for Virginians who can't afford it is four years far too long. But right-wing lawmakers, led by Speaker Howell, are continuing to block and mislead on extending Medicaid coverage to hundreds of thousands of uninsured Virginians. Conservatives in our Commonwealth must put people above politics and learn to value compromise for the good of Virginia now.

Get the Facts:

  • Virginia would recover "$692 million in lost coverage gap revenue" for hospitals if Virginia finds a health care compromise. (Roanoke Times, May 5, 2014)

  • Virginia's secretary of health and human resources, William Hazel, reports that Medicaid expansion will produce a savings of $1 billion through 2022. "The estimate represents a swing of more than $1 billion from a Medicaid analysis a year ago, when state health officials estimated a net cost to the state of $137.5 million over the nine-year period. In 2010, the estimated cost of expansion to the state exceeded $2.1 billion over 10 years." (Richmond Times-Dispatch, January 23, 2013)
  • "As many as 400,000 Virginians could gain coverage through a Medicaid expansion, nearly half the total of Virginia's uninsured... expanding Medicaid is part of the chamber's new 'Blueprint Virginia' plan to boost the state economy, which was introduced at Wednesday's meeting." (Daily Press, November 20, 2013)
  • Expanding Medicaid in Virginia will create up to 33,000 jobs according to an analysis by the Senate Finance Committee. Of the over 400,000 Virginians eligible for coverage, more than 70% "live in households where at least one person holds a full- or part-time job." (Richmond Times-Dispatch, December 16, 2012)

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