Fredericksburg, Va.—Virginia Organizing called on Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates Bill Howell to stop blocking Medicaid expansion the day before the Remote Area Medical (RAM) will set up in Warsaw, Virginia, just an hour away from Speaker Howell’s district. RAM travels to remote areas of the U.S. to provide health care to impoverished communities that have high rates of uninsured people.
“I am appalled we’re still having to fight this fight,” said Eunice Haigler, Virginia Organizing leader from the Fredericksburg Chapter. “When Virginians have to receive medical care under tents, even though we have access to federal funds to pay for Medicaid expansion and provide medical care, that’s shameful.”
Virginia Organizing Board member Ray Scher is planning to visit RAM this weekend and discuss Medicaid expansion with potential patients. “Speaker Howell, this has got to stop,” said Scher. “Virginia is turning down $5 million of federal dollars every day, billions of dollars so far, because the General Assembly refuses to take the health and lives of Virginians seriously. It’s a problem that we can fix—if only our General Assembly would stop putting politics over people.”
Virginia Organizing leaders, including many who are directly affected by lack of health insurance, have been organizing to support those who fall in the Medicaid gap because they do not meet the strict income and family requirements of the current Medicaid program, but earn less than 100 percent of the federal poverty limit and cannot qualify for federal Affordable Care Act Health Insurance Marketplace subsidies.
Haigler is one of the community leaders who falls into the Medicaid gap. “It just doesn’t make sense to me,” said Haigler. “I know what it’s like for my health to suffer without health insurance and it breaks my heart that others are suffering when there is a clear solution to this problem. Virginia is for lovers, but I’m not feeling the love!”
“We want to get the word out about RAM since this is the only option so many people have,” said Scher.
RAM will take place at Richmond County Elementary School at 361 Walnut Street, Warsaw, VA 22572 from 6 a.m. onSaturday, November 14 until 2 p.m. on Sunday, November 15. More information is available at http://ramusa.org/event/warsaw-va/.
Virginia Organizing is a non-partisan statewide grassroots organization that brings people together to create a more just Virginia.