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Results tagged “Budget”

April 17, 2014

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The Commonwealth Institute reports, "in 1968, Virginia lawmakers accepted federal Medicaid funds for the first time to help some low-income people get health coverage. They did it through the budget, and the program has been in the budget for nearly 50 years... Last year, lawmakers used the budget to set up a process for covering more Virginians. They created the Medicaid Innovation and Reform Commission, gave its members the authority to close the coverage gap, and appropriated the federal money to help pay for the new health care coverage--not through stand-alone legislation, but through the budget."

Progressive Point: Our Commonwealth's greatness comes from everyone striving together for a shot at the American dream, not ideological games. Our Delegates must drop the delay tactics and start working to close our health care coverage gap to make that shot possible for hundreds of thousands of Virginians. Furthermore, a focus on creating jobs and a stronger economy through expanding health care coverage to those who badly need it will improve the wellbeing of all Virginia families.

Virginia families can't afford for our health and financial security to take a backseat to political games in the House of Delegates any longer. House conservatives transparent tactics to delay closing the coverage gap are costing us money--$5 million per day. Moving Virginia to a more modern, efficient healthcare system by expanding Medicaid will not only improve the well-being of our families, but save us over $1B in the process. Our legislators have the power to expand health coverage today, but only if they stop political stonewalling and close the coverage gap far too many of our families are falling into.

Get the Facts:

  • 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)
  • New polling numbers in five House of Delegates districts indicate broad support for proposals to close the coverage gap for 400,000 Virginians. In districts across the Commonwealth, including areas where Medicaid impacts a high percentage of the population, the poll found majority support for the measure. (ProgressVA)

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April 15, 2014

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The News & Advance editorial board opines, "No one can blame City Council for growing tired of the gridlock that has stalled the state budget process in Richmond. A proposed new city budget can't be made final until the General Assembly approves a new state budget. And that is being held up by the proposal to expand Medicaid to the uninsured in Virginia... It's past time for Richmond to resolve this crisis. It's a matter of budgetary urgency for localities across the commonwealth."

Progressive Point: Working families in communities across our Commonwealth have again done their civic duty by paying their fair share this Tax Day. On the contrary, conservative Delegates have cost our Commonwealth half a billion dollars' worth of health care. We've done our duty. It is time for our representatives to do theirs to close the coverage gap, protect our families, and strengthen our communities.

Virginians have paid taxes to close the health care coverage gap--but our Delegates in Richmond are blocking those funds from coming back to Virginia. No one enjoys paying taxes. But Virginians paid their fair share and its time we got our health care. Across the Commonwealth today, working families and small business owners are proud to pay their taxes so we can invest in America and make sure everyone is better off. We've done our duty. It's past time our Delegates do theirs and stop withholding our health care.

Action to share: Tell your Delegate we've done our duty and paid our taxes--now do yours and stop withholding our health care.

Get the Facts:

  • 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)
  • New polling numbers in five House of Delegates districts indicate broad support for proposals to close the coverage gap for 400,000 Virginians. In districts across the Commonwealth, including areas where Medicaid impacts a high percentage of the population, the poll found majority support for the measure. (ProgressVA)

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April 10, 2014

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The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports, "Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe is the target of a new TV ad by Americans for Prosperity, a tea party nonprofit backed by billionaire conservative activists Charles and David Koch. Americans for Prosperity's Virginia chapter announced Monday that it will be airing TV ads statewide criticizing McAuliffe for his support of expanding Medicaid eligibility, a key part of the Affordable Care Act."

Progressive Point: As of today, conservative Delegates have now cost our Commonwealth half a billion dollars' worth of health care for working Virginians who badly need it. These ideologues in Richmond, who are fueled by the far right-wing Koch brothers, aren't working for us. They're working to make sure closing the coverage gap never happens.

Over the last four months half a billion dollars could have been paying for preventative care, life saving screenings, and hospital procedures. Instead, conservatives have thrown it away because they're more interested in playing political games than expanding access to care for working Commonwealth families. Wasting half a billion dollars has done nothing to protect our families or strengthen our communities. Virginia's representatives are elected to work for Virginians, not the Koch Brothers

Half a billion dollars is far too much to waste. Contact your Delegate now to demand action to close the coverage gap.

Get the Facts:

  • 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)
  • New polling numbers in five House of Delegates districts indicate broad support for proposals to close the coverage gap for 400,000 Virginians. In districts across the Commonwealth, including areas where Medicaid impacts a high percentage of the population, the poll found majority support for the measure. (ProgressVA)

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Holding health care hostage

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April 9, 2014

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The Virginian-Pilot reports, "In the space of three hours Tuesday, Virginia's Democratic-led Senate approved a budget bill with a plan to get up to 400,000 uninsured people into government-backed health care, publicly proclaimed the righteousness of that position, and adjourned... House partisans traded floor speeches, but the ruling GOP took no budget action."

Progressive Point: Virginia's leaders are elected to protect our families and strengthen our Commonwealth's communities. Refusing health care for 400,000 Virginians puts both at risk. Our legislators have the power to expand health coverage today, but only if they stop political stonewalling and close the coverage gap far too many of our families are falling into.

Richmond conservatives holding health care hostage are more interested in continuing a four year long political fight than making sure Virginia families who badly need medical coverage can get it. At least 400,000 Virginias are waiting right now for our elected officials to expand their access to affordable, quality health care. Working Virginians want our leaders to focus on creating jobs and strengthening the economy. Closing the existing coverage gap means just that---saving money, saving lives, and a stronger and healthier Commonwealth. 

Get the Facts:

  • 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)
  • New polling numbers in five House of Delegates districts indicate broad support for proposals to close the coverage gap for 400,000 Virginians. In districts across the Commonwealth, including areas where Medicaid impacts a high percentage of the population, the poll found majority support for the measure. (ProgressVA)

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April 7, 2014

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60 Minutes reported last night, "Millions of Americans can't afford the new health insurance exchanges. For the sake of those people, Obamacare told the states to expand Medicaid, the government insurance for the very poor. But 24 states declined. So, in those states, nearly five million people are falling into a gap... We met some of these people when we tagged along in a busted RV called the Health Wagon -- medical mercy for those left out of Obamacare... The Health Wagon pulls up in parking lots across six counties in southwestern Virginia... On average there are 20 patients a day, that's recently up by 70 percent."

Progressive Point: Our representatives don't have to watch the national news to see that working Virginians and their families are hurting without health care coverage. At least 400,000 of us are waiting for our elected officials to expand their access to affordable, quality health care. The delay is costing us $5 million a day. Virginians at every income level need permanent security through knowing that when they get sick, they can see a doctor without an enormous bill once they've gotten well--and they need it now.

Our legislators have the power to expand health coverage to hundreds of thousands of Virginians, but only if they stop political stonewalling and close the coverage gap. Medicaid expansion 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. Working Virginians want our leaders to focus on creating jobs and strengthening the economy. Closing the existing coverage gap means just that---saving money, saving lives, and a stronger and healthier Commonwealth.

Get the Facts:

  • 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)
  • New polling numbers in five House of Delegates districts indicate broad support for proposals to close the coverage gap for 400,000 Virginians. In districts across the Commonwealth, including areas where Medicaid impacts a high percentage of the population, the poll found majority support for the measure. (ProgressVA)

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April 4, 2014

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Senator Walter Stosch opines in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, "While some want to separate the health care issue from the budget, the two are inextricably linked. Then-Gov. Bob McDonnell included provisions in his budget proposal to recover federal [Affordable Care Act] ACA funding as early as 2012. Both budgets passed this year by the House and Senate appropriate money to implement the ACA as well... The time for rhetoric and political gamesmanship has passed. Now is the time for constructive compromise and common-sense problem-solving."

Progressive Point: Virginians across the Commonwealth and from different walks of life all agree that closing Virginia's health care coverage gap is the right decision for improving the wellbeing of our families. Over 400,000 of our neighbors are waiting for our elected officials to expand their access to affordable, quality health care. We need our representatives to come together today and work out a coverage compromise that will expand health security now.

Every day our Delegates stonewall closing the coverage gap, our Commonwealth loses $5 million in tax money that we've already paid. In addition to providing critical health care for 400,000 Virginians, Medicaid expansion would save the state up to $1 billion while creating over 30,000 jobs. Virginia families deserve the peace of mind of knowing that when they can get sick, they can see a doctor without worrying about if the bill will keep them from putting food on the table. We're Americans, and we don't turn our backs on neighbors. It's time for our representatives to work together and close Virginia's health care coverage gap.

Get the Facts:

  • 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)
  • New polling numbers in five House of Delegates districts indicate broad support for proposals to close the coverage gap for 400,000 Virginians. In districts across the Commonwealth, including areas where Medicaid impacts a high percentage of the population, the poll found majority support for the measure. (ProgressVA)

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April 2, 2014

New site chronicles stories from Virginians who could fall in to the coverage gap 

Health care advocates today launched IAmTheCoverageGap.com, a new website chronicling the stories of Virginians without health insurance who fall into the coverage gap. Close to 400,000 Virginians could receive affordable, quality care if the General Assembly votes to accept federal funds to expand Medicaid coverage in the Commonwealth. 

Virginians in the coverage gap live across the Commonwealth. Katherine G. in Patrick County shared, "My husband has not been able to find a job at all now for almost 3 years and he brings in nothing at all. It's not like he doesn't look or ask... He tries every day to find just something to help at all but fails every time... Patrick County is just jobless and Henry is the same way. [My husband] needs his knees worked on real bad. You can hear bone against bone, and he wakes up actually crying in the night with the pain. We can not afford insurance for him nor can we afford to take him to a doctor."

Megan G. in Virginia Beach was student when she was diagnosed with transverse myelitis. "This September I will turn 26 years old, and will no longer be able to get coverage through my mother's plan. However, because I am still waiting on my approval for disability insurance, I cannot afford any healthcare coverage provided through Virginia's marketplace at all.... Let's me make sure you understand here; I'm too sick to work, but still haven't been covered by Medicare."

These are just some of the stories from across the state of the individuals who are waiting for the General Assembly to accept federal funds, taxes Virginians have already paid, and close the coverage gap. "As these stories demonstrate, health care delayed is health care denied," said Tram Nguyen, co-executive director of Virginia New Majority. "Legislators have the opportunity to provide quality, affordable health coverage to Virginians who are in desperate need of if. The only question is whether will do the right thing and close the coverage gap."

"The only thing standing in the way of Megan, Adrian, Janet, and so many others accessing affordable, quality health care is the House of Delegates," added ProgressVA executive director Anna Scholl. "These stories put a face on the 400,000 Virginians who are in the coverage gap. It's time for the House to stop playing political games and come to the table to close the coverage gap now."

IAmTheCoverageGap.com will continue to post stories from across the Commonwealth so long as the General Assembly fails to act. Citizens can submit stories to the site at http://iamthecoveragegap.com/submit

April 1, 2014

Richmond, VA - Diverse representatives today pleaded with state legislators to take action and close the health care coverage gap for 400,000 Virginians. Business leaders, health care executives, doctors, patients, and advocates testified in support of proposals to expand affordable health care coverage. The broad support for expansion underscored the political isolation of the few opponents whose opposition is rooted in political ideology, not sound public policy.

"Closing the coverage gap is about more than just saving taxpayer dollars," said ProgressVA executive director Anna Scholl. "As medical professionals and individuals in the coverage gap shared this afternoon, expanding health care coverage in Virginia will save lives. At the end of the day, our legislators must decide if they're more interested in playing political games or standing up for their constituents.

"Today's hearing made clear opposition to closing the coverage gap is based in a partisan ideology that is more interested in vilifying the President than ensuring healthy communities," continued Scholl. "But while these naysayers ignore the facts, the truth is 9.5 million Americans have accessed affordable health care coverage since the Affordable Care Act became law. 400,000 more Virginians could receive access to care if legislators would accept the $450,000,000 and counting in taxes Virginians have already paid to close the coverage gap. Experts agree that expanding health care will create jobs, save the state money, and most importantly save lives. Anything less in unacceptable."

April 1, 2014

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The Commonwealth Institute reports, "Accepting federal funds to help nearly 400,000 Virginians without health insurance get the care they need to be healthy and productive would save localities millions currently spent to help the uninsured, free up state funds for critical local functions like education and public safety, and bolster local economies by supporting good jobs and generating new tax revenue. But if the General Assembly refuses to close the coverage gap, localities will be left to meet the demand for basic services while their poorest residents go without coverage."

Progressive Point: Our families deserve the same health security offered to every other state in the country--whether they live in Warrenton or Wise County. Closing Virginia's health care coverage gap will ensure families in every corner of the Commonwealth can see a doctor when they get sick, without worrying about a huge bill afterward. Working Virginians deserve to know we can get medical attention when we need it, without worrying about if it will prevent us from putting food on the table.

Right now, conservative Delegates are holding health care hostage and playing a $5 million a day game of political chicken with our wellbeing. Their health coverage blockade means more families struggling with bankruptcy thanks to a serious illness. Closing Virginia's coverage gap will save money, improve health, and even cut death rates. Our Commonwealth's cities and counties cannot afford the health and financial costs of Richmond politicians denying coverage and putting their political ambitions first. Expanding health coverage to more children and working adults means saving money, saving lives, and a stronger and healthier Virginia.

Get the Facts:

  • A new report from The Commonwealth Institute finds: 
    • Localities fund a variety of health care programs for the low-income, uninsured that could be paid for with federal funds if state lawmakers closed the coverage gap.
      • For example, 22,000 people who get mental health or substance abuse treatment through their community service boards could get health insurance, saving localities an average of $28 million per year through 2022.
      • Localities could also save $6 million per year by using federal funds to cover the local jail inmates' hospital costs, which localities are required to pay. 
    • The state could use a portion of the savings from closing the coverage gap to help localities that continue to struggle to fund core services.
      • Governor McAuliffe recently proposed a budget that uses some of the savings to boost state funding for local priorities and reduce the burden on localities, including:
        • A 2 percent raise for Virginia's state-supported local employees, helping local governments retain and attract good workers.
        • $17 million for the Line of Duty Act for families of fallen public safety officers.
        • $7.4 million to help maintain the number of at-risk children who can attend high quality, public preschool through the Virginia Preschool Initiative.
        • $4.8 million in grants for local school divisions that want to extend their school years.
        • $3.3 million to soften the blow for local school divisions that lost some state funding in the recent funding formula revision.
    • Federal funds for coverage could boost local economies.
      • Virginia could expect an average annual infusion of $1.8 billion of federal funds from closing the coverage gap, which would add up to $14.5 billion through 2022.
      • The bulk of those resources would flow directly into Virginia's health care sector, supporting nearly 30,000 well-paying health care jobs by 2022 and generate an average of nearly $20 million in local tax revenues each year.

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March 31, 2014

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The News Leader reports Sen. Tim "Kaine has volunteered for the Remote Area Medical Clinic in Wise County that annually draws thousands for free health and dental assistance that its mostly poor and rural clients couldn't otherwise afford. He noted in a newspaper guest column that two-thirds of the people the clinic serves would be eligible for Medicaid if the state expands the health insurance program for the poor and disabled."

Progressive Point: Expanding health security to 400,000 children and working adults who badly need it means more than improving the quality of life in our communities. Closing the coverage gap in Virginia will save money, save lives, and help build a stronger and healthier Commonwealth. Our families need the security of knowing that when we get sick, we can see a doctor without an enormous bill when we've gotten well.

We trust our elected officials to support and protect our families. But by refusing to close the coverage gap, House conservatives have blocked affordable health care and are costing us $5M a day in taxes we've already paid. Our legislators have the power to expand affordable, quality health coverage to hundreds of thousands of Virginians today, but only if they stop stonewalling, close the coverage gap, and put our families first.

Get the Facts:

  • 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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March 24, 2014

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The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports, "Gov. Terry McAuliffe is proposing expanding Medicaid under a two-year pilot that he says could end at that time without financial penalty to the state. He unveiled his plan this morning, the first day of a special session when lawmakers return to Richmond to try and pass a two-year budget. McAuliffe said he has assurance from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that Virginia can launch a two year pilot to use the federal funds and get out of it with no obligation."

Progressive Point: Our legislators returned to Richmond today, where they have the power to expand health coverage to hundreds of thousands of Virginians who need it right now. If conservatives wanted to put Virginia families' interests first, they would stop stonewalling and close the coverage gap. We must ensure working families can get the quality health care they desperately need and stop the delay.

Conservative Delegates' efforts to delay closing the coverage gap are costing us $5 million per day in taxes we've already paid. Moving Virginia to a more modern, efficient healthcare system by expanding Medicaid will not only improve the well-being of our families, but save the Commonwealth over $1B in the process. Conservative ideologues have shown again today that they will delay health care expansion indefinitely if they can. Virginia families can't afford for our health and financial security to take a backseat to political games in the House of Delegates any longer. 

Get the Facts:

  • 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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Drop the health care delay tactics

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March 4, 2014

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The Daily Progress reports, "Is there a break in the impasse over Medicaid expansion? House of Delegates Republicans, taking up a hint from Gov. Terry McAuliffe this weekend, today are asking for a special session to discuss Medicaid, after the budget is enacted. McAuliffe has said getting a budget on time for the start of the fiscal year and getting coverage for Virginians living below the poverty line are his two main priorities."

Progressive Point: Virginia families can't afford for our health and financial security to take a backseat to political games in the House of Delegates any longer. House conservatives transparent tactics to delay closing the coverage gap are costing us money--$5 million per day. Moving Virginia to a more modern, efficient healthcare system by expanding Medicaid will not only improve the well-being of our families, but save us over $1B in the process.

Republican governors across the country are implementing the health law because they know a healthy workforce is good for businesses. Working Virginians want our Delegates to drop the delay tactics and focus on creating jobs and strengthening the economy. Extending Medicaid coverage to hundreds of thousands of uninsured Virginians who need it now will do just that. Virginia families deserve the same health security offered to every other state under health care reform: getting medical attention when we need it, without worrying if it will prevent us from putting food on the table.

Get the Facts:

  • 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)

  • "About half of all uninsured veterans in Virginia and more than half of all VA only insured veterans could qualify for coverage under Medicaid expansion; meaning they had incomes below 138 percent of the Federal Poverty Level in 2010 ($26,000 for a family of three)." (The Commonwealth Institute, February 1, 2013)

  • Via The Commonwealth Institute:

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February 21, 2014

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The Roanoke Times reports, "The two houses of the General Assembly passed competing budget plans Thursday that set the stage for a political battle over whether to accept federal Medicaid dollars to expand health coverage for low-income Virginians. The politically divided state Senate approved a provision that would use federal Medicaid expansion dollars to help an estimated 250,000 Virginians purchase private health insurance. Three Republicans joined the chamber's 20 Democrats in voting to incorporate the provision in the two-year state budget."

Progressive Point: We send our elected officials to Richmond to make our lives better. Instead, conservatives in the House of Delegates are wasting our time on absurd gimmicks to block women's access to reproductive health care. Furthermore, they continue to refuse access to affordable care for working Virginians and ignore the resounding chorus of chambers of commerce, businesses, and hospitals insisting closing the coverage gap will be a boon to our economy.

Virginia needs a bipartisan budget that expands access to affordable health care, not that ends it altogether. The ideological budget pushed by conservatives in the House doesn't include a path to close the health care coverage gap for over 400,000 Virginians but does manage to attack low-income families, women, and LGBT Virginians. Additionally, these same partisan politicians voted to include amendments to defund Planned Parenthood and block access to abortion for low-income women as well meddle in the ongoing marriage equality case in federal courts. Our Commonwealth's greatness comes from everyone striving together for a shot at the American dream, not ideological games.

Get the Facts:

  • Via ProgressVA:

    • The House Appropriations Committee budget proposal lacks a path forward towards closing the coverage gap and expanding Medicaid to 400,000 low income Virginians. Virginia loses $5 million a day for every day the state refuses to move forward with expansion, while also stymieing further job creation and state savings.

    • The budget includes an incendiary proposal to block all Medicaid reimbursement to Planned Parenthood, a proposal that endangers the commonwealth's federal Medicaid funding. Tens of thousands of Virginia men and women rely on Planned Parenthood for quality, low cost care including cancer screenings, family planning and birth control access, and preventative reproductive care.

    • The conservative House budget refuses to restore funds for the FAMIS MOMS and Plan First programs, which provide health insurance to pregnant women and family planning coverage to men and women. Both programs were cut in last year's budget. Without restoring funds to these programs, the effort to defund Planned Parenthood virtually ensures low income men and women would have few, if any, affordable options to seek reproductive care.

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February 20, 2014

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The Washington Post reports, "House Republicans will force a vote Thursday on whether to expand Medicaid, briefly plucking the contentious issue out of a massive state budget bill in a move meant to show overwhelming GOP opposition to Gov. Terry McAuliffe's top legislative goal. The House will subject the expansion plan to an up-or-down floor vote -- something the measure would not ordinarily get since it is part of the two-year, $96 billion state spending plan. Supporters of expansion dismissed the planned vote as a meaningless gimmick. Even after its expected defeat Thursday in the House, the plan to expand Medicaid will live on in the Senate's proposed budget."

Progressive Point: Republican governors across the country are already implementing the health law because they know expanding access to affordable health care is good people and businesses. Closing the coverage gap means extending affordable health care to 400,000 Virginians who currently need it, and creating over 30,000 jobs in the Commonwealth. But here in Virginia, House conservatives are playing a budget gimmicks instead of getting serious about governing Even though closing the gap will save the Commonwealth $1 billion, conservative ideologues are still delaying expansion. Their opposition is rooted in partisan politics, not sound public policy.

Working Virginians need our leaders to focus on creating jobs and strengthening the economy. With today's stunt, conservative lawmakers are yet again blocking health care coverage for hundreds of thousands of Virginians. Our families deserve the same health security offered to every other state under the Affordable Care Act and for which our tax dollars are already paying. Closing the existing coverage gap for Virginia's children and working adults means saving money, saving lives, and a stronger and healthier Commonwealth.

Get the Facts:

  • 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)

  • "About half of all uninsured veterans in Virginia and more than half of all VA only insured veterans could qualify for coverage under Medicaid expansion; meaning they had incomes below 138 percent of the Federal Poverty Level in 2010 ($26,000 for a family of three)." (The Commonwealth Institute, February 1, 2013)

  • Via The Commonwealth Institute:

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House budget attacks women's health

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February 19, 2014

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The Roanoke Times reports, "A coalition of Democratic state senators and delegates said Tuesday that amendments embedded in the budget proposed by the Republican-controlled House of Delegates pose a threat to women's health. 'The war on women continues' said Sen. Barbara Favola, D-Arlington, a member of the Women's Reproductive Health Caucus. Favola and more than a half-dozen female lawmakers stated their opposition to amendments aimed at defunding Planned Parenthood and eliminating coverage under Medicaid for abortions for women whose babies would be born with gross fetal abnormalities."

Progressive Point: Virginia's budget should focus on our priorities: fighting income inequality, supporting working families, and building Virginia's economy. Instead, the House budget is a full-on attack on low-income families access to reproductive health care. Their budget proposal seeks to throw up new barriers to accessing preventative care, birth control, and life-saving cancer screenings.

Their proposal to defund Planned Parenthood would cut tens of thousands of Virginians off from quality, low-cost health care and a plan to deny for low-income women access to abortion simply targets women who are poor. Worst of all, House conservatives refusal to close the coverage gap could leave over 100,000 women of reproductive age without any access to health care. Budgets are moral documents, and the House GOP's shows a clear disregard for Virginia women and low-income families. Virginia needs a bipartisan budget that expands access to affordable health care, not that ends it altogether.

Get the Facts:

  • Via ProgressVA:

    • The House Appropriations Committee budget proposal lacks a path forward towards closing the coverage gap and expanding Medicaid to 400,000 low income Virginians. Virginia loses $5 million a day for every day the state refuses to move forward with expansion, while also stymieing further job creation and state savings.

    • The budget includes an incendiary proposal to block all Medicaid reimbursement to Planned Parenthood, a proposal that endangers the commonwealth's federal Medicaid funding. Tens of thousands of Virginia men and women rely on Planned Parenthood for quality, low cost care including cancer screenings, family planning and birth control access, and preventative reproductive care.

    • The conservative House budget refuses to restore funds for the FAMIS MOMS and Plan First programs, which provide health insurance to pregnant women and family planning coverage to men and women. Both programs were cut in last year's budget. Without restoring funds to these programs, the effort to defund Planned Parenthood virtually ensures low income men and women would have few, if any, affordable options to seek reproductive care.

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February 17, 2014

The ABC7 reports, "The Virginia House and Senate unveiled budget proposals Sunday with competing views on whether to accept federal funds to provide health insurance to low-income Virginians. The House's version rejected calls from Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe to expand Medicaid eligibility to about 400,000 residents. The Senate's budget would have the same basic outcome of expanding Medicaid eligibility - more lower-income residents would receive publicly funded health insurance, but proponents of the chamber's plan say its emphasis on creating a marketplace for private insurance is a key difference."

Progressive Point: Virginians deserve a budget that protects our priorities and doesn't attack low-income families. The proposed budget pushed forward by conservatives in the House of Delegates is a blatant attack on women's health and will severely hurt our families with the least options. Virginia needs a bipartisan budget that protects women's health and reflects our shared values as a community.

Virginia's budget is a reflection of our values and road map for where we want to go as a Commonwealth. House conservatives have made it clear that they want to take Virginia backward with their attacks on women's health and low-income families. Conservatives want to use the budget to defund Planned Parenthood, repeal funding for abortions for low-income women, and block the badly needed expansion of Medicaid that will protect Virginia's less fortunate families. Budgets are moral documents, but the one just released by the House GOP shows a clear disregard for Virginia women and low-income families.

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Get the Facts:

  •  
    • The House Appropriations Committee budget proposal lacks a path forward towards closing the coverage gap and expanding Medicaid to 400,000 low income Virginians. Virginia loses $5 million a day for every day the state refuses to move forward with expansion, while also stymieing further job creation and state savings.

    • The budget includes an incendiary proposal to block all Medicaid reimbursement to Planned Parenthood, a proposal that endangers the commonwealth's federal Medicaid funding. Tens of thousands of Virginia men and women rely on Planned Parenthood for quality, low cost care including cancer screenings, family planning and birth control access, and preventative reproductive care.

    • The conservative House budget refuses to restore funds for the FAMIS MOMS and Plan First programs, which provide health insurance to pregnant women and family planning coverage to men and women. Both programs were cut in last year's budget. Without restoring funds to these programs, the effort to defund Planned Parenthood virtually ensures low income men and women would have few, if any, affordable options to seek reproductive care.

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Refusing a bipartisan budget

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January 6, 2014

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports, "Gov.-elect Terry McAuliffe hasn't taken the oath of office, but he's already gotten a lesson in legislative prerogative on the state budget. Del. S. Chris Jones, R-Suffolk, the next chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, informed the incoming governor last month that the panel would not consider amendments proposed by the new administration to the two-year budget Gov. Bob McDonnell submitted on Dec. 16."

Progressive Point: The budget is a reflection of our values and road map for where we want to go as a Commonwealth. Governing is a collaborative job, but conservatives in the House of Delegates are already making is clear they have no intention of working with their colleagues. Our elected officials are just that--elected. They should represent our values in Richmond and listen to ideas and perspectives from across the Commonwealth. Refusing to hear the Governor-elect isn't just an insult to him. It's an insult to every Virginia voter who cast a ballot on Election Day with the expectation that our vote means something. 

Leaders are open to working together in a bipartisan manner to do what is best for Virginia. Conservatives in the House of Delegates seem more interested in holding grudges. Virginia needs a bipartisan budget that reflects our shared priorities and our needs as a Commonwealth. Our Commonwealth's greatness comes from everyone striving together for a shot at the American dream, not a one-sided ideological games.

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Get the Facts:

  • Gov. Mark R. Warner and Gov. Timothy M. Kaine were offered the opportunity to offer budget amendments for consideration when they entered office. (Richmond Times-Dispatch, January 5, 2013)
  • Both the Virginia House of Delegates and State Senate finance committees project Gov. McDonnell's state education funding in his two-year budget proposal "is about $100 million short of the cost for rebenchmarking and increases into the Virginia Retirement System. The Senate expects the total cost to be $605.9 million, the House estimates $624.5 million." (Daily Press, December 10, 2013)

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  • Last month, the Virginia Chamber of Commerce shared Blueprint Virginia, "its strategic vision for growing the economy, which makes clear that businesses have widely embraced the idea that improving workforce development needs to include greater access to high quality early childhood education." (Roanoke Times, November 24, 2013)
  • Gov.-elect Terry McAuliffe, at an appearance before the Chamber, said he also shares the goal of expanding Pre-K and making it more available. The non-partisan goal was also shared by Gov. George Allen's administration in the 1990s when it "launched the Virginia Preschool Initiative for at-risk children who are not served by Head Start." (Roanoke Times, November 24, 2013)

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December 16, 2013

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports, "Gov. Bob McDonnell spent the past week doling out early gifts, unwrapping key projects in his upcoming budget. On Monday, he'll put a bow on it all. Before the administration turns out the lights, McDonnell faces one of his remaining major acts -- proposing a two-year budget that offers perhaps his last sweeping opportunity to leave his stamp on the state."

Progressive Point: Virginia's budget is our elected leaders' biggest opportunity to invest in our future and stop passing the buck down the road. Working Virginians demand a financial plan that reflects the priorities they hold at home. Our representatives need to take the time to get this right. It is time to stop the political games and corporate handouts and build a budget that puts Virginia families first.

Virginians deserve a plan that protects our priorities, our families, and our essential local services. Investing in our children and schools today is an essential part of that plan and a commitment to our Commonwealth's economy tomorrow.  The fiscally responsible approach to our budget is to prioritize the middle class families who work for a living and are the true engine of economic prosperity. Our Commonwealth's budget must reflect our community values and priorities.

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Get the Facts:

  • Both the Virginia House of Delegates and State Senate finance committees project Gov. McDonnell's state education funding in his two-year budget proposal "is about $100 million short of the cost for rebenchmarking and increases into the Virginia Retirement System. The Senate expects the total cost to be $605.9 million, the House estimates $624.5 million." (Daily Press, December 10, 2013)

va students graphic.jpg

  • Last month, the Virginia Chamber of Commerce shared Blueprint Virginia, "its strategic vision for growing the economy, which makes clear that businesses have widely embraced the idea that improving workforce development needs to include greater access to high quality early childhood education." (Roanoke Times, November 24, 2013)
  • Gov.-elect Terry McAuliffe, at an appearance before the Chamber, said he also shares the goal of expanding Pre-K and making it more available. The non-partisan goal was also shared by Gov. George Allen's administration in the 1990s when it "launched the Virginia Preschool Initiative for at-risk children who are not served by Head Start." (Roanoke Times, November 24, 2013)

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Bob McDonnell shorting our schools

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December 11, 2013

The Daily Press reports, "Gov. Bob McDonnell is offering an increase in state education funding, but the $582.6 million boost appears to fall short of projections for new mandated spending. 'We have to make additional cuts based on those numbers,' Poquoson schools Superintendent Jennifer Parish said. 'Yes, he's providing additional funding, but it doesn't cover the cost increase that K-12 education is experiencing.'"

Progressive Point: Investing in our children and schools today is an essential commitment to our Commonwealth's economy tomorrow. Both the House and Senate finance committee projections say Bob McDonnell's budget proposal would short our students and our shared financial future by $100 million. Guaranteeing our children's education now is an essential, nonpartisan commitment to ensure a skilled Virginia workforce ready to compete in the global economy in the days ahead.

Virginia's Chamber of Commerce understands that our Commonwealth has to lead in education if we are going to stay a leader in business. They also understand the need for investments leading to a higher quality early childhood education and an improved and competitive workforce. In Virginia's new budget we have the opportunity to renew our economic recovery efforts and ensure a stronger workforce for tomorrow through investment in a quality education for all Virginia families.  

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Get the Facts:

  • Both the Virginia House of Delegates and State Senate finance committees project Gov. McDonnell's state education funding in his two-year budget proposal "is about $100 million short of the cost for rebenchmarking and increases into the Virginia Retirement System. The Senate expects the total cost to be $605.9 million, the House estimates $624.5 million." (Daily Press, December 10, 2013)

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  • Since 2008, Virginia has cut per student funding by 10%, or $592 per pupil. (Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, Sept. 4, 2012)

  • Increasing investment in our schools and closing the educational-achievement gap between the U.S. and higher-performing countries could boost our gross domestic product by 16%. (Wall Street Journal, April 22, 2012)

  • Last month, the Virginia Chamber of Commerce shared Blueprint Virginia, "its strategic vision for growing the economy, which makes clear that businesses have widely embraced the idea that improving workforce development needs to include greater access to high quality early childhood education." (Roanoke Times, November 24, 2013)

  • Gov.-elect Terry McAuliffe, at an appearance before the Chamber, said he also shares the goal of expanding Pre-K and making it more available. The non-partisan goal was also shared by Gov. George Allen's administration in the 1990s when it "launched the Virginia Preschool Initiative for at-risk children who are not served by Head Start." (Roanoke Times, November 24, 2013)

  • Senator Tim Kaine recently opined in the Virginian-Pilot:
    • "90 percent of brain development occurs before a child's fifth birthday. Without early education programs that serve children under the age of five, our education system neglects children during the years its effects could be most significant.

    • Pre-K is also good for the economy. Nobel laureate James Heckman, an economist who calculates how public investments accelerate economic growth, has concluded that early childhood education has one of the greatest returns of any public investment.

    • Early learning programs make it more likely that children will do well in elementary school, less likely they will have to repeat a grade and more likely they will be successful in the future.

    • The return on investment may be even higher when children from low-income families gain access to pre-K programs. Research shows that the value of the program is most powerful for children who might otherwise have learning barriers - developmental disabilities, lack of access to books or other learning material, or a home where English isn't the primary language."

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July 3, 2013

Americans for Tax Fairness reports, "The Government Accountability Office -- an arm of Congress that audits and evaluates government activities -- just released a new study of the tax rates that U.S. corporations pay. It found that the average corporate tax rate for profitable corporations is 12.6%. That's about one-third of the corporate statutory rate, thanks to loopholes and to the deductions companies can claim. It's about one-half of the tax rate paid by many working people."

Progressive Point: Those who've done well in America ought to do well by America and pay their fair share. It's time to stop corporate tax dodging and invest in the U.S. again by ending the tax loopholes that encourage corporations to ship profits and jobs overseas. We can use that money to invest in jobs in America - making classrooms less crowded, improving roads and bridges, rebuilding manufacturing and making us energy independent.

This 4th of July would be a good time for our nation's big corporations to display some real patriotism by investing in America and sharing responsibilities. When big businesses ship profits and jobs overseas to dodge their fair share of taxes, they hurt our country. That's not patriotic. If we close tax loopholes that allow big companies to shelter their profits in the Cayman Islands and other tax havens to avoid paying their fair share of taxes, we could raise $600 billion over the next decade. It's time to bring those profits and factories and jobs back to the United States.

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