Medicaid expansion helps all Virginians

Since 2014 Republican lawmakers have resisted expanding Virginia’s Medicaid program, which would help nearly 400,000 Virginians, including 12,000 veterans, gain access to affordable insurance. Yet, this year the House, in a bipartisan effort, passed a budget that includes expansion.

Medicaid expansion can help improve health outcomes for the uninsured and have a positive impact on our economy. According to The Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis, a Richmond- based independent research organization, Medicaid expansion would support 18,000 jobs in health care and Virginia’s overall economy would generate $89 million in new state and local tax revenues in fiscal year 2020.

Virginia has forfeited $10.5 billion in federal money to date which would have helped pay for expansion and saved state dollars in the budget. If we don’t expand now, we will forfeit another $2.9 billion over the next two years. It is fiscally responsible for lawmakers to expand Medicaid, as the House has done in its budget.

As former Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, a Republican, wrote in his recent opinion piece, “Make no mistake, this is a quality-of-life issue. It is an economic issue. When people are healthy they are productive and can contribute to society. When they are ill or injured, but unable to get treatment in the proper setting, their struggles can affect us all.”

More than 80 percent of Virginians and over 100 organizations support expansion. The time is now for Republican senators, led by Tommy Norment, to join with the majority of Virginians to support and expand Medicaid for the benefit of all Virginians.

John Gregoire


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