Virginia Expands Health Care to 400,000 Residents
Washington, D.C.—Today, the Virginia General Assembly voted to expand health coverage to nearly 400,000 of the Commonwealth’s residents, joining 33 other states, including the District of Columbia, that have expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.
Following is the statement of Frederick Isasi, executive director of Families USA:
“This is a historic day for Virginia and our nation, especially for those hard-working Virginia families who have suffered too many sleepless nights worrying about how to pay for their health care costs and other daily necessities without health insurance. By expanding Medicaid, the General Assembly is helping as many as 400,000 Virginians to be able to see a doctor, stay healthy, and, when faced with a serious illness, get life-saving care.
“Virginia has shown the country that expanding Medicaid can and should have bipartisan support. Giving access to quality, affordable health care—to otherwise uninsured Virginians—makes economic sense. This will make a difference across the state, from the rural Appalachian region to the seaport cities on the Atlantic Ocean. It will help struggling communities, including rural hospitals, serve populations that have faced economic burdens in recent years.
“Unfortunately, Virginia lawmakers embraced the false notion that Medicaid eligibility should be tied to a person’s ability to jump through bureaucratic hoops to prove their work status. If this aspect of the law is approved, it would create needless barriers to care for tens of thousands of families and adults. We believe these restrictions ultimately will be dropped by Virginia and other states because they are illegal and also create a tangle of red tape that will cost the state millions of dollars.
“Ultimately, Virginia proves that when voters express support for health care expansion, it is possible to find bipartisan agreement and break the gridlock that has blocked progress in so many states. We congratulate Governor Northam, the members of the Virginia legislature, and our partners — Virginia Organizing, Progress Virginia, and Virginia Poverty Law Center —for this remarkable success.”