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With Election Decided, Will Governor McDonnell Stop Dragging His Feet On Health Care?

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 7, 2012
Contact: Anna Scholl (434)218-2113 anna@progressva.org

With Election and Obamacare Decided, Will Governor McDonnell Finally Stop Dragging His Feet On Health Care?

Political games over, it's time for McDonnell to move forward with implementation

The day after Virginians voted to reelect President Barack Obama and send Governor Tim Kaine to the Senate, ProgressVA called on Governor Bob McDonnell to stop dragging his feet on implementing health care reform. McDonnell has repeatedly threatened to reject health care coverage for close to half a million low income Virginians who now qualify for coverage under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. In a stunning display of partisan gamesmanship, McDonnell had stated his intention to delay a decision until after Tuesday's election, in hopes of boosting his preferred candidates and repealing the legislation.

"Virginians have spoken and it's clear that Obamacare is here to stay," said ProgressVA executive director Anna Scholl. "It's time for Governor McDonnell to set aside the political games and ensure that the over 400,000 low income Virginians who qualify for health care coverage under Obamacare can access those benefits. Every Virginian deserves to see a doctor when he or she gets sick. Virginians need the security of knowing that when disaster strikes, they can recover without the additional stress of an enormous financial cost."

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act provides federal dollars to states that choose to expand their Medicaid programs to people who earn incomes below 133% of the poverty line. In Virginia, this amounts to 420,000 people who could get heath insurance through a Medicaid expansion and be secure in the knowledge that if disaster strikes, they won't also go bankrupt.&

BACKGROUND:

  • Medicaid is a health insurance program that helps people who might not otherwise be able to afford health care coverage for themselves and their children. This insurance allows low income people to get the care they need without breaking the bank and forcing them to choose between going to the doctor and putting food on the table.

  • Virginia has one of the worst Medicaid programs in the country already. It only covers families who make below 30% of the poverty line, so if a family of 4 makes more than $10,000 a year, they can't qualify for this program even though they would have no other way of affording insurance. By implementing this provision of the Affordable Care Act, individuals who make $15,000 and families of four who make $31,000 a year would qualify.

  • The Medicaid solution is paid for with federal tax dollars for the first three years, so if we choose not to adopt the program, people in California and Massachusetts will be receiving the benefits that we paid for. After the first three years, the federal government will pay for up to 90% of the costs, with the state chipping in for the rest. Even after that, the cost of the program will be offset by the additional dollars that will be spent in the state in the health care industry.

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ProgressVA is a multi-issue progressive advocacy organization dedicated to engaging citizens from across the Commonwealth around issues of immediate state and local concern. www.ProgressVA.org