Richmond, Virginia–Members of the General Assembly voted again today to continue playing politics with people’s lives, rejecting a budget amendment that would have expanded Medicaid coverage to 400,000 Virginians in the coverage gap. These hardworking Virginians constantly live in fear that they are one health care crisis away from financial ruin because they are unable to afford health insurance and do not qualify for Medicaid.
“Health care is a basic human right. It is beyond outrageous that House Republicans have prioritized petty partisan politics over real human lives by refusing to expand Medicaid,” Anna Scholl, Executive Director of Progress Virginia, said. “These politicians should look in the eyes of individuals they’ve denied health care access and explain their vote. Explain to Laura Clark why she cannot afford her $95 a month blood pressure medication. Explain to Keith Oliver why he has a $400,000 medical bill for suffering a stroke and still can’t afford his medication. Explain to Shawn Pharo why she has to hope and pray that she and her husband don’t get sick after a layoff so they can still pay for care for their kids. There are 400,000 Virginians with these stories. They deserve an explanation from the politicians standing between them and affordable care.”
Medicaid expansion is an optional provision of the Affordable Care Act that more than 30 states have already taken advantage of. Federal tax dollars pay for more than 90% of the program, so Virginians are paying for people in other states to get low cost health insurance, even though they aren’t able to take advantage of it themselves.