"THIS IS A COP-OUT"
VIRGINIA ORGANIZING RESPONDS TO GOVERNOR'S ANNOUNCEMENT TO HOLD OFF ON MEDICAID EXPANSION
For Immediate Release: July 12, 2012
PETERSBURG, VA: This week, Governor Bob McDonnell released his intention for Virginia to "wait and see" regarding setting up a state-run health exchange and expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Virginia Organizing Chairperson Sandra Cook issued the following in response:
"Governor Bob McDonnell has made his position clear regarding the health and lives of the conservative estimate of 325,000 Virginians who would benefit from the Medicaid expansion. Though the Governor has raised some questions that need answers, his motivation is clearly political and he just wants the law repealed. This 'wait and see' approach is a cop-out and Virginians will not stand for it. The Governor seems to think that gambling with the health and lives of real people is an appropriate response to the U.S. Supreme Court decision. This is nothing more than Governor McDonnell playing partisan politics while disregarding the well-being of those who obviously need this expansion in order to have health coverage.
A delay in implementing the Medicaid expansion is bad for Virginia. People without health care coverage end up using hospitals to provide care, often after the problem has become more costly to manage than it would have been to prevent. Virginia hospitals will still be forced to provide services without pay to those who would be eligible under the expansion, passing on the cost to insured Virginians. In addition, a delay or failure to implement the expansion will cause health care providers, like doctors and pharmacies, to miss out on millions of dollars of revenue that expanding coverage will provide.
The federal government has agreed to pay 100% of the cost of this expansion until 2016, and only after that time will states be gradually required to pay any of the costs, and then only up to 10% total liability for Virginia in 2020. If Virginia opts out, Virginians will still be paying federal taxes to cover the costs of expansion in other states. Governor McDonnell cites rising Medicaid costs as his reasoning behind waiting to implement this expansion but fails to acknowledge that the ACA will ultimately reduce costs, solving this problem.
Virginia Organizing is outraged that Governor McDonnell would put his political ambition over the health and lives of the hundreds of thousands of Virginians who need help now. This kind of posturing is offensive and, quite frankly, ridiculous. Virginia Organizing calls on the Governor to come to his senses, stop playing political games, and implement the Medicaid expansion and the state health exchange. Stop putting your politics over the health and lives of Virginians!"
To schedule an interview with a Virginia Organizing spokesperson (individual or small business owner) who has been affected by the Affordable Care Act, please contact Amanda Pohl at 804-337-1912 or firstname.lastname@example.org.