Virginia Organizing is deeply disappointed that the House of Delegates has chosen to ignore the needs of hundreds of thousands of Virginians who need health care
Charlottesville, VA — Virginia Organizing, a non-partisan statewide grassroots organization, released a statement today in response to the budget the House of Delegates released which did not include expansion of Medicaid.
“For the last several years, we have heard from Virginians from Lee County to the Eastern Shore and all points in between who are calling on the Virginia General Assembly to make sure that we close the insurance gap and expand Medicaid so that 400,000 Virginians can have health insurance,” said Sandra A. Cook, Chairperson of Virginia Organizing.
“In all parts of the state, these are the voices of real people who are directly affected by the decision that the House has made to ignore the needs of 400,000 Virginians who need health coverage,” said Cook. “We are calling on Speaker Bill Howell, Delegate Chris Jones, Delegate Steve Landes, and Delegate Kirk Cox to stop playing political games with the lives of people struggling every day with health care costs.”
Virginia Organizing members have met with more than 50 state Delegates and Senators over the last few months in their home districts and with even more state legislators in Richmond, and most seem to realize the importance of expansion to our state’s health and economy. However, the House leadership continues to call for an audit instead of actually addressing the health care needs of the Commonwealth.
“Our elected officials are supposed to solve problems, not run away from them,” Cook said. “Delay, delay, delay. Why are they delaying? Where’s the leadership that is needed to make sure more people do not die waiting for this broken system to be fixed?”
“The legislators want to deny me medication for shrinkage of my tumor, and another medication which will allow me to stay alive since my body has stopped making the hormone that regulates everything in my body,” said Eunice Haigler, a Virginia Organizing leader from Fredericksburg. “But as it is now, I have been denied health insurance coverage that would not cost the state one cent.”
“It is somehow deeply saddening for me, as a pastor and person of faith, to see the issue of providing care to our poorest fellow Virginians politicized and demagogued by either party for gain,” said Dave Rochford, Superintendent of the Staunton District of the Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church. “Many of us would immediately help an impoverished family with a ride to the Emergency Room, with a heart prescription or the preventive care needed by a diabetic child. But we are choosing not to do this on a mass scale.”
Dave Baldwin, Executive Director of the Center For High Blood Pressure in Richmond, tells the story of a patient named Vivian: “Vivian needed our care. She cared for her children and for her children’s children. She had a part-time job with no health insurance. We did everything we could but she needed more than we could provide. She did not have the resources and before she could find the resources she had a stroke, her kidneys stopped and she passed. When you talk about the Medicaid gap, remember Vivian.”
“These budgets and the decisions of the General Assembly have very real, and dire, consequences,” Cook said. “We simply cannot afford to lose lives of Virginians each and every day we do not expand health insurance coverage for some of our most economically stressed neighbors.”
Virginia Organizing is a non-partisan statewide grassroots organization that brings people together to create a more just Virginia.