For Immediate Release: February 5, 2013
VIRGINIA ORGANIZING AND VIRGINIA CONSUMER VOICES RALLIED FOR MEDICAID EXPANSION
Fairfax, Va. – Virginia Organizing and Virginia Consumer Voices hosted a community rally for Medicaid expansion on the campus of George Mason University on Tuesday as part of an ongoing campaign to expand Medicaid in Virginia. About 35 people attended the rally by the George Mason statue.
Brian Kenny Henriquez-Mercado, a 19 year-old full-time student and part-time cashier, spoke at the rally about his experience with Medicaid. Henriquez-Mercado’s mother is unemployed and he had Medicaid as a minor, but lost the coverage when he aged out of the program.
“I’m without health insurance now and live in fear of getting sick,” said Henriquez-Mercado. “I don’t know how I would pay for that. If Medicaid were expanded, I wouldn’t have to worry so much.”
On Sunday, the Virginia House of Delegates Appropriations Committee and Senate Finance Committee released their budget proposals. The proposals delayed the Medicaid expansion implementation until July 2014 at the earliest, and would only allow the expansion if the federal government grants waivers to reform Medicaid.
“Medicaid expansion is a great opportunity for Virginia,” said Virginia Organizing Chairperson Sandra A. Cook. “After this past weekend’s disappointing budget release, we want to make sure legislators know what the people want.”
Virginia Consumer Voices Director Kathy May said, “We hear stories all the time from people who don’t have insurance because they don’t make enough money. Home health workers, cashiers at grocery stores, the clerks at convenience stores, teacher’s aides, and so many more cannot afford to wait for another General Assembly to make a decision about expansion. These 400,000 people need action now.”
“Virginia Organizing supports common sense reforms to Medicaid, but we don’t think that the expansion should be delayed,” said Cook. “Virginians will forfeit millions of our tax dollars every day this expansion is held up and more than 400,000 will continue to go without health insurance.”
For questions or to interview a spokesperson for Virginia Organizing, please contact Amanda Pohl at 804-337-1912 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Virginia Organizing is a non-partisan statewide grassroots organization that brings people together to create a more just Virginia.