HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) — The Harrisonburg Community Health Center hosted a forum on Medicaid expansion Tuesday morning.
It is a controversial issue right now in state politics as lawmakers debate whether or not to expand the program.
Christopher Nye, the CEO of the health center, said there are currently 400,000 people in Virginia that could be covered if Medicaid was expanded.
In the city of Harrisonburg, Rockingham County and Augusta County there are 11,000 people who could be covered.
Nye said currently at their center, 1,000 patients are paying minimal fees because they do not have insurance and cannot qualify for Medicaid.
A physician at the center said expanding Medicaid could target a lot of illnesses and prevent costly complications in the future.
Jacqueline Miller, a patient at the center said, expanding Medicaid would relieve some additional burdens and she could spend that money elsewhere.
"You worry so much about getting the bills paid and putting food on the table and how am I going to get this medication. How am I going to do this you know. And it is hard to say when you can't even afford to take your children to a movie, it's really hard on you when you cant even afford to do that," said Miller.
Nicole Riley, the Virginia director of the National Federation of Independent Business, held a press conference Monday about how Medicaid expansion could be bad for Virginia.
Riley said her organization would like to see an audit done before Medicaid is expanded.
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