The future of health care reform in Virginia now rests with the Virginia legislature, the General Assembly and Governor McDonnell. The studies are done and now our elected officials will get down to deciding what will be done about health care reform. The governor will propose a plan which the General Assembly will debate, potentially amend, and vote on.
The first step will be a meeting of several General Assembly committees at 2:00 on Monday, December 5 in House Room D of the General Assembly. We believe that the final report from the VHRI (the group that has been studying health care reform for two years) will be released at this meeting. We also expect that the Governor’s proposal will be announced at this meeting. While we know that the governor appointed the VHRI and is using the group’s recommendations, we are hearing that the governor may well ignore many of the recommendations that the group made.
For information about the General Assembly, or to find out who your legislators are go to http://legis.virginia.gov/
One topic that the General Assembly will be debating is the creation of a Health Benefits Exchange. A Health Benefit Exchange (HBE) is a co-op or buyers club that will allow small businesses from all over the state to join one big pool to purchase health insurance. The HBE should have an easy to use website where small businesses can compare and buy insurance plans. The HBE will be voluntary and will start operating in January, 2014. The Commonwealth Institute has a good article on the HBE at http://
There is a federal income tax credit for small businesses that provide health insurance for their employees. The credit will carry over into the future if it is not all used in one year. IRS form 8941 contains information http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-
In a 2009 study, Families USA, looked at how medical care for the uninsured is provided. The study noted that the uninsured receive over $100 billion in medical care each year. The study found that while the uninsured and charities help, about 1/3 of this bill is passed on to those with insurance. The study found that insured families pay about $1000 more each year to cover the uninsured. The study can be found at www.familiesusa.org/resources/
The national Main Street Alliance is asking businesses to sign onto a statement about corporate money in politics. The statement is at http://mainstreetalliance.org/
Among the reports issued by the VHRI was a study on the potential size of the exchange in Virginia. The report found that there would be at least 120,000 individuals in the small business exchange. The full report, along with other reports on health care reform can be found at:
While it is debating health care reform, the General Assembly will also be trying to balance Virginia’s budget. The governor will announce his budget proposal in mid-December. According to the Better Choices Coalition, the state faces an $800 million shortfall in the next budget. See http://betterchoicesva.org/ for more details.
Saturday, November 26 (the Saturday after Thanksgiving) is being promoted as SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY. The website http://smallbusinesssaturday.
This update is a service of the Virginia Main Street Alliance, a project of Virginia Organizing