RICHMOND, Va. – At a press conference this morning at the State Capitol, the Virginia House and Senate Democrats announced that extending access to affordable health care to nearly 400,000 hardworking Virginians through Medicaid expansion is their top joint legislative goal.
House Democratic Leader David J. Toscano, House Democratic Caucus Chair Charniele Herring, Senate Democratic Caucus Chair Mamie Locke, Senator George Barker and Delegate Wendy Gooditis spoke on the effects that the lack of expansion has had on Virginia families and the Virginia economy.
Leader Toscano introduced his colleagues from the House and Senate as they made passionate remarks on the much needed reform as well as the bipartisan support needed to make a reality.
"Senate Democrats remain committed to working with our colleagues -- both across the aisle in our own chamber and across the hall -- to find solutions to our ongoing healthcare crisis,” said Senator Locke. “We currently have one of the best Medicaid programs in the country in terms of the quality of care and the fiscal oversight -- and yet nearly 400,000 Virginians remain uninsured."
”We have seen Virginians and Americans as a whole be clear--healthcare is a right and not a privilege,” said Caucus Chair Herring. “The ACA is here to stay and Medicaid expansion is needed now more than ever. It is not about Democrats or Republicans, it is about taking care of our neighbors. I have seen members of the General Assembly on both sides of the aisle work hard to improve our behavioral health system and fight to keep their local hospitals and healthcare systems running. We all want Virginia to be the best place to do business, raise a family, and live.”
"If you look at it from an economic perspective or from a healthcare perspective there is no question whatsoever that Medicaid expansion benefits Virginia, it benefits the government of Virginia, it benefits the businesses of Virginia, and most important of all, it benefits the people of Virginia," said Senator Barker.
“I lost my brother to PTSD and alcoholism, two weeks after I announced my candidacy, a candidacy that was inspired by the struggle to get him the help he needed and deserved,” said newly-elected Delegate Gooditis. “There are 140 beautiful beating hearts in this state assembly, I am very hopeful that all of them believe people like my brother deserve care.”
Virginia has forfeited 10 billion dollars in federal tax dollars allocated to Medicaid expansion to other states. Medicaid expansion would also create 30,000 jobs, save our state budget $73 million annually, and most importantly ensure that nearly 400,000 people have access to health care.
For a breakdown by district of how Medicaid expansion would affect our communities by district, click here.
For a Facebook live recording of the press conference, visit the Facebook page of the Virginia Senate Democratic Caucus.
Photos from the press conference are available on the Twitter page of the Virginia House Democratic Caucus, @vahousedems.