What: Seven demonstrations in support of Medicaid expansion
When: Wednesday, February 14 – Monday, February 19, 2018
Where: Blacksburg, Danville, Fredericksburg, Harrisonburg, Lynchburg, Meadowview, Virginia Beach
Charlottesville, Va. — Virginia Organizing and other community groups will hold seven demonstrations in support of Medicaid expansion between Wednesday, February 14 and Monday, February 19 in different cities around Virginia. These seven events continue our month of action, which began on February 8 in Charlottesville and the Eastern Shore on February 10.
On February 18, known in Richmond as “Budget Sunday,” the House of Delegates and Senate will release their respective budgets. Virginia Organizing leaders want local legislators to fight for Medicaid expansion in this year’s budget process.
Medicaid expansion will provide health coverage to 240,000 uninsured Virginians, create 30,000 jobs, and bring millions of federal dollars back into the state. After years of refusing expansion, the General Assembly has an opportunity to do the right thing.
“We are pushing for Medicaid expansion because there are too many who wake up every morning and go to work at their full time job and still can’t afford health care,” said Charlottesville leader, Valerie Washington. “We need to push to close the gap so that more people can receive health coverage and not have to worry about whether to buy food for their families or prescriptions for themselves.”
According to Alex Joyner, a United Methodist pastor on the Eastern Shore, expanding Medicaid is the right thing to do.
“One measure of a country’s greatness is how well it provides for the needs of all its citizens. Providing greater access to health care for the large number of poor and working poor Americans through Medicaid expansion is an expression of our strength as a people,” Joyner said.
Carlene Wilson, a leader in Danville, added her perspective.
“As an adult educator, I know how important access to health care is for students to succeed. For the sake of our students and community, the General Assembly should make Medicaid expansion a priority in 2018,” Wilson said.
“The General Assembly’s refusal to expand Medicaid to date has hurt all Virginians,” agreed Tim Jost, Harrisonburg Virginia Organizing supporter and nationally recognized health care expert.
“It obviously has hurt people whose incomes are below the poverty level because it denies them access to health care. It also hurts those whose incomes are above the poverty level but who would be eligible for expansion coverage, because they now have to pay more for private insurance. It hurts those of us who have to pay much higher premiums for individual market coverage because insurers have to cover people who could be covered through Medicaid. It hurts those of us who have to use emergency rooms crowded by people who are denied access to primary care. It hurts those of us who depend on rural hospitals which are suffering financial stress because of the uncompensated care they have to provide. It hurts Virginia by sending federal tax money to other states to pay for their Medicaid expansions while not benefiting from the new jobs and infusion of federal funds into Virginia that expansion would bring. It is time to get Medicaid expansion done—for all Virginians,” Jost concluded.
By organizing events from Southwest Virginia to the Eastern Shore, community members are standing up to demand Medicaid expansion in 2018.