For Immediate Release: October 15, 2013
Richmond, Va.—Virginia Organizing attended the Medicaid Innovation and Reform Commission (MIRC) public hearing on Tuesday, October 15 and brought about a dozen directly affected people to share their personal stories and to make it clear why Medicaid expansion is needed in the Commonwealth.
“Virginia Organizing believes that the voices of the directly affected people are the most important in the discussion of the Medicaid expansion,” said Virginia Organizing Chairperson Sandra A. Cook. “It is easy to complain about the theoretical issues with Medicaid when you don’t have to rely on the coverage. Real people who need real coverage now are counting on our legislators to make sure they can get the health care they need.”
Those who spoke in favor of Medicaid expansion shared personal experiences and facts about how expansion will create jobs, provide coverage to 400,000 Virginians, and allow Virginians to benefit from their federal tax dollars.
Debra Grant, a Virginia Organizing State Governing Board member, spoke in favor of Medicaid expansion at the meeting, both as a recipient of Medicaid and on behalf of those who are being left out of the program. She spoke of her family members who would benefit from expansion and need to be able to seek treatment for current health conditions.
“I want my son and my sister to be able to get the good health care they need—the kind of care Medicaid can provide for them if it were expanded,” said Grant.
Nita Witting, a Virginia Organizing leader from Shenandoah Valley, also testified at the Commission hearing today. “I will die without Medicaid,” said Witting. “I will not be able to go to a doctor, get medication, or get any care because I do not have any money to cover the expenses I have from chronic conditions like diabetes, back pain, and arthritis. Medicaid expansion would ensure I would get health care and cover about 400,000 other currently uninsured Virginians who are in a similar situation.”
“When you hear the stories of people, of families, who need coverage in Virginia but are unable to get it because Medicaid has not been expanded, it breaks your heart and makes you wonder why we are delaying expansion,” said Cook. “How could anyone not be moved knowing that holding up this expansion has already closed one hospital—Lee Regional Medical Center in Pennington Gap—and is limiting care for so many who need it now? Virginia Organizing implores the Commission to consider those who are directly affected as they continue to discuss expansion in Virginia.”
The Commission stayed into the evening to hear all public testimony from those who remained at the meeting.
To interview a spokesperson for Virginia Organizing, please contact Amanda Pohl at 804-337-1912 or email@example.com.
Virginia Organizing is a non-partisan statewide grassroots organization that brings people together to create a more just Virginia.