Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) is calling the bipartisan budget deal, which passed early Friday morning after a five-hour government shutdown, “good for the country and good for Virginia.”
The deal, which adds billions of dollars in federal spending for military, disaster relief, and domestic programs, comes weeks after a historic package of tax cuts championed by President Trump and the GOP was signed into law.
Kaine is touting several portions of the spending bill as Virginian victories, such as the $3 billion for 2018 and 2019, respectively, that the budget sets aside to tackle the national substance abuse epidemic. The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) has been funded for an additional four years, which a press release from the Senator’s office states will benefit 66,000 Virginian children.
A two year funding extension of federally-qualified community healthy centers was included in the spending bill. The Senator’s press release states that “approximately 300,000 Virginians receive health care at more than 100 community health center locations in underserved communities” across the state.
“I am proud to have worked with a bipartisan group of my colleagues last month on negotiations to reopen the government that led us toward this deal, but our work isn’t done. We now must build on this bipartisan progress and immediately proceed to debate and pass legislation that permanently protects Dreamers,” stated a press release quoting Kaine.
The bill ends military sequestration, which Kaine says has been “painful” to Virginia’s military community. It also increases national security and military spending by $80 billion in 2018 and $85 billion in 2019. Domestic spending will be increased by $63 billion in 2018 and $68 billion in 2019, which will fund education, health, and non-defense national security programs.
Other Virginia “wins” cited by Kaine, via press release, include:
- Veterans – $2 billion for FY 18 and $2 billion for FY 19 to reduce the VA health care maintenance backlog
- Child Care – $2.9 billion for FY 18 and $2.9 billion for FY 19 for child care, including for the Child Care Development Block Grant program;
- Higher Education – $2 billion for FY 18 and $2 billion for FY 19 for programs that aid college completion and affordability, including those that help police officers, teachers, and firefighters;
Drug Addiction and Mental Health – $3 billion for FY18 and $3 billion for FY19 to combat the substance abuse epidemic;
- Infrastructure: Transportation, Clean Water and Broadband – $10 billion for FY 18 and $10 billion for FY 19 to invest in infrastructure, including programs related to rural water and wastewater, clean and safe drinking water, rural broadband, roads, rail and bridges;
Photo via Sen. Tim Kaine’s office
A report has shown that areas of wealth and disadvantage exist very close together in Arlington, sometimes just blocks away from each other.
The report by the Northern Virginia Health Foundation, entitled “Getting Ahead: The Uneven Opportunity Landscape in Northern Virginia,” identifies what it calls 15 “islands of disadvantage,” where people face multiple serious challenges.
Those challenges include the levels of pre-school enrollment, teens out of high school, whether people have a Bachelor’s degree or higher, the level of English spoken in a household, unemployment rate, child poverty rate, health insurance rate and more.
Of those “islands,” three are either wholly or partly in Arlington: one near the county’s border with Bailey’s Crossroads and Seven Corners; another along Columbia Pike in the Douglas Park neighborhood; and another in the area of Buckingham and Fort Myer.
The report also found that neighborhoods separated by one thoroughfare can have very different demographics, housing and poverty levels.
“A striking example was near Ballston Common [Mall, rebranded as Ballston Quarter], where residents in two census tracts on either side of North Glebe Road — tracts 1019 and 1020.01 — faced very different living conditions,” the report reads. “In census tract 1019, east of N. Glebe Road, 85 percent of adults had a Bachelor’s degree or higher education and the median household income exceeded $160,000 per year.
“Just west of N. Glebe Road, in tract 1020.01, 30 percent of teens ages 15-17 years were not enrolled in school, only 38 percent of adults had a Bachelor’s degree and 48 percent of the population was uninsured.”
It also found that life expectancy can vary by as much as 10 years across the county, “from 78 years in the Buckingham area to 88 years in parts of Rosslyn and Aurora Highlands.”
To help improve conditions, the report recommended better access to health care, education and affordable housing.
“In today’s knowledge economy, advancement requires better access to education — from preschool through college — and economic development to bring jobs with livable wages to disadvantaged areas,” it reads. “And it requires an investment in the infrastructure of neglected neighborhoods, to make the living environment healthier and safer, to provide transportation, and to improve public safety. What is good for our health is also good for the economy and will make Arlington County a stronger community for all of its residents.”
In a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan, 46 Democrats said the lack of action to fund cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments is hurting small business owners and the self-employed.
President Donald Trump announced he would end the payments, which help subsidize health insurance premiums, last month.
The Democrats said that House Republicans are blocking a “key solution” by not funding the CSRs through legislation, and it will only make things harder for individuals and business owners.
“We are hearing from entrepreneurs, small business owners and self-employed individuals who are being disproportionately impacted by the President’s decision,” they wrote. “We ask that you support our innovator economy and mitigate this financial burden by fulfilling cost sharing reduction payments.”
The full letter is after the jump.
Trump announced the new travel ban Sunday night. The administration’s previous efforts to implement a travel ban targeting certain countries deemed a security risk were hindered by legal challenges and met with widespread protests.
In a statement, Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) says the new version of the ban is little improved from the previous versions.
Donald Trump cannot camouflage his Muslim Ban by adding new countries to it. Its discriminatory roots are still plainly visible. This policy is an attempt to use racial and anti-religious animus to divide people for political ends.
As with previous bans, the Administration provides no evidence that they enhance public safety. Meanwhile, the ban continues to stigmatize millions of Muslim Americans, as well as our key allies in the war on terror.
This policy has been wrong from the start, it is wrong still, and I will continue to oppose it.
Also issuing a statement last night was Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), who weighed in on the latest effort to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
Warner said the bill, which faces long odds in the Senate, would do more harm than good. He called for a bipartisan effort to lower healthcare costs and stabilize the health insurance markets.
This evening, the CBO released a score concluding millions of Americans would lose healthcare under this latest partisan repeal plan. Just hours before, S&P released a report finding that the Graham-Cassidy bill would cost our country about 580,000 jobs and $240 billion in lost economic activity over the next decade. There’s a reason why this bill is opposed by non-partisan groups from every sector of the health industry, including the American Medical Association, health insurers, hospitals, patients, the American Cancer Society, and the American Heart Association. With even the center-right think tank AEI panning both this bill and the process under which it is being rammed through Congress, it is time for the Senate to put this bill aside and recognize that we must work in a bipartisan way to stabilize the health insurance markets and put in place permanent fixes to lower costs and expand health care options for Americans. I stand ready and willing to work with any Senator, Republican or Democrat, who seriously shares that goal.
That’s the message from a flyer for a community town hall event next month focused on “how drugs and the opioid epidemic are affecting our community.” Arlington County may be in many ways a unique community, but it is not immune to the scourge of drugs.
Attendees at the town hall, set for Thursday, October 12 from 7-8:30 p.m. at Arlington Central Library (1015 N. Quincy Street), will hear from those “serving on the front lines,” including local law enforcement, community leaders and health care providers.
It will include a panel discussion moderated by NBC 4 anchor Jim Handley, a question and answer session with the audience and a keynote address by Virginia Beach School Board member Carolyn Weems, whose daughter died from a prescription drug overdose in 2013.
County government, Arlington Public Schools, the Arlington County Police Department and the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney are collaborating to host the town hall.
On Twitter, Rep. Don Beyer (D), who represents Arlington in the House of Representatives, said lawmakers must work to make health care “better together.”
A so-called “skinny repeal” fell short of the votes required to pass after GOP Sens. John McCain, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski voted against it, defeating the measure 49-51.
Now it's time to turn the page and cast this terrible process aside.
Let's make our healthcare system better together. https://t.co/7igkDipIiI
— Rep. Don Beyer (@RepDonBeyer) July 28, 2017
The “skinny repeal” bill would have removed requirements that most Americans have health insurance, and that companies with more than 50 employees must offer health benefits. But the Congressional Budget Office estimated it would lead to 16 million more people without insurance in the space of a decade.
After the bill’s failure, U.S. Sen Tim Kaine (D-Va.) said in a statement that the process to improve health care must be more open and bipartisan.
“Thanks to the help of countless Americans who shared their stories and made their voices heard, we were able to stop a bill that would have taken health care away from millions of people,” Kaine said. “There is a better way. Let the public into the process. We shouldn’t be kicking millions off of their health insurance or increasing families’ health care costs. Tonight we put people over politics, and going forward we all need to work together to improve health care for all Americans.”
U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) thanked the American people for raising their concerns about Obamacare repeal, and agreed with Kaine that improvements must be made in an open way.
“Thank you to all Americans who made their voices heard. You did this,” Warner said in a statement. “It’s time to drop this partisan repeal process for good and work together on ways to improve health care for all Americans.”
Local representatives in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives sharply criticized the Senate’s vote Tuesday (July 25) to begin debate on repealing the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare.
The Senate voted 51-50 — with Vice President Mike Pence called on as a tie-breaker vote — to open debate on repeal, with three possible plans to be discussed in the coming days.
Those plans are the Senate’s own plan to repeal and replace Obamacare; a 2015 House bill that would have repealed the law; and a bill that passed the House earlier this year.
U.S. Sens Mark Warner and Tim Kaine (D-Va.) both released statements strongly condemning the vote on the Senate floor.
“As one of my colleagues has said, not a single one of us came to the United States Senate to hurt people, but that is exactly what Republicans have set in motion with today’s forced vote on a secret bill. For many of my constituents in Virginia and millions of people across America, this bill likely means losing insurance or paying much more for health care.
“I spent Friday volunteering at the RAM Clinic in Wise County, where thousands of people had traveled far from their homes–many of them sleeping in their cars and outside in the heat–to get care. The magnitude of the need was heartbreaking, and the message from these families was clear: ‘help us, don’t hurt us.’ As the wealthiest and most compassionate nation in the world, we must make our health care system better, not worse, for these families. We have to do our jobs to protect the health care of the kids whose parents who have been writing to me and asking Congress to stop this heartless bill.
“This is about what’s right and wrong. This is about who we are as Senators. This is about what thinking, feeling, breathing, believing human beings in positions of leadership will do to help people, not hurt them. Americans–healthy and sick–need us to get this right, but Republican Senators got it wrong with today’s vote. In the coming days, I hope we’ll change course, move to a more open process, and get back to helping people.”
“Today’s vote will have very real and disastrous consequences for millions of Americans. The only question is how many people will be harmed, since Senate Republicans voted to move forward on a bill no one has yet seen but which we already know will raise costs and kick millions off their health insurance, including millions of children, elderly and disabled Americans who depend on Medicaid.
“There is still time for reasonable Republican senators to abandon this partisan process. It is long past time for Republicans to sit down with Democrats and work on a bipartisan solution that actually improves our healthcare system.”
U.S. Rep. Don Beyer (D), who represents Arlington in the House, had not released a written statement as of the time of writing. On Twitter, Beyer also criticized the vote, and the uncertainty surrounding the Senate’s next steps.
This is really happening. No GOP Senators know what they are about to vote on.
They really do have to pass it to find out what's in it. https://t.co/NbfRxd8Bei
— Rep. Don Beyer (@RepDonBeyer) July 25, 2017
They did it. Motion to proceed passes 51-50.
All those complaints about the secrecy, partisanship, and broken order.. they still voted yes. https://t.co/Enw6pUdcSt
— Rep. Don Beyer (@RepDonBeyer) July 25, 2017
Arlington Taking Roadwork Suggestions — “Arlington’s Neighborhood Complete Streets Program is asking residents to nominate neighborhood streets they believe could be made safer and more comfortable for all users for potential improvement projects. If you know a neighborhood street that is missing a section of sidewalk, needs an accessible curb ramp or better street lighting, consider nominating it. The County is accepting submissions through Friday, June 16.” [Arlington County]
Commuting Habits in Arlington — Arlington County’s new “Profile 2017” data packet has a surprising statistic on community habits: more Fairfax County residents commute into Arlington each day than Arlington residents commute into D.C. [Twitter]
Candidates Dither on Exotic Pet Ban — Three out of four of the Democratic candidates for County Board would not give a straight answer to the question of whether they support a proposed ban on wild and exotic pets. [InsideNova]
Metro 29 Named Best Diner in Va. — A new list of the best diner in all 50 states lists Metro 29 diner on Lee Highway as the best in Virginia. [Mental Floss]
Beyer on House Healthcare Bill — Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) says yesterday’s narrow passage of the GOP healthcare bill is “a dark stain on the history of the House of Representatives.” [Rep. Don Beyer]
Comment Ads Turned Off — To improve the user experience, we’ve turned off those semi-trashy tile ads below the comments. They’re prevalent on lots of websites, especially news websites, and they generate decent revenue, but we could not longer stand having them associated with our site. Replacing the ads are links to previous ARLnow.com articles.
After one last blast of cold weather this week, it appears that old man winter has taken his last bow for the season, according to our friends at the Capital Weather Gang.
Also bowing out: the Republican effort to pass a replacement for the Affordable Care Act. A number of local lawmakers and Democratic political candidates have issued statements on the bill’s failure this afternoon, including Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.).
Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) statement on the GOP healthcare bill being pulled pic.twitter.com/DqdX0AhQuY
— Arlington News (@ARLnowDOTcom) March 24, 2017
Also this afternoon, a grinning Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the House Minority Leader, was spotted taking a flight out of Reagan National Airport in Arlington.
— Marky Mark (@DCCelebrity) March 24, 2017
Feel free to discuss the return of spring-like weather, the healthcare brouhaha on Capitol Hill or any other topic of local interest in the comments.
Beyer Warns of Obamacare Repeal Ramifications — “The Republican plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act will have disastrous consequences for Virginia,” Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) said Friday, citing recent studies. “Hundreds of thousands of our neighbors will lose life-saving, affordable health coverage. The state also stands to lose as many as 100,000 jobs, $30 billion in gross state product, and $50 billion in business output. This is unacceptable and irresponsible.” [House of Representatives, Commonwealth Fund]
Will Startup’s Growth Add Arlington Jobs? — Just before the new year, president-elect Donald Trump said that Rosslyn-based OneWeb will be creating 3,000 jobs as it prepares to launch hundreds of satellites to deliver broadband internet around the world. Will those jobs be coming to Arlington? An Arlington Economic Development spokeswoman said the agency was not sure, while a OneWeb spokesman told ARLnow.com only that it was opening a new office in McLean.
Op-Ed Warns ‘Ignore Arlington’s Bad Example’ — The Arlington County Board’s recently-passed home sharing regulations are a “bad example” for other Virginia localities considering similar rules, since Arlington prohibited renters from renting their homes on Airbnb and other platforms. “The opportunities created by the sharing economy shouldn’t be restricted to only those few who are deemed worthy,” says a fellow with the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, in an op-ed. [Richmond Times Dispatch]
County Board Members Take Regional Roles — “Arlington County Board Chair Jay Fisette will serve as 2017 Vice Chair of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board. County Board Vice Chair Katie Cristol will serve as chair of the Northern Virginian Transportation Commission’s Legislative Committee, and has joined the leadership of the Virginia Railway Express Operations Board.” [Arlington County]
New Year, New Offer for New Advertisers — Join dozens of satisfied advertising clients and get your business’ message out to the greater Arlington community with ARLnow.com. Learn more about our advertising options and check out our new winter deal for new advertisers: book at least a month of advertising and get another month free. [ARLnow]
Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) is inviting the public to join him in an evening of open discussion at an event he has dubbed “The Road Ahead.”
Beyer says many Arlington residents have contacted his office recently to voice concerns and to inquire about working to “bridge the great divisions that exist in our rich and complex country.”
Issues on the agenda for discussion include health care, immigration, climate change, gun safety, civil rights, and America’s role in the world, among others.
The event will take place at Wakefield High School (1325 S. Dinwiddie Street) on Monday, January 16, from 6:30-8:00 p.m. The event is free and those interested in attending may register online.
Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders, plus other local technology happenings. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.
Recently there has been more attention paid to how incidents of sexual assault are handled on college campuses. The team behind actNOW wants to help the victims of those campus assaults easily get access to the resources they need to deal with the frightening, overwhelming issue.
Co-founder Mark Harris says actNOW is a “survivor-centered model to help after an assault has occurred.” Many sexual assault victims are “unfamiliar with how to [report the incident]. There’s a lot of information on websites, but it’s not streamlined,” Harris says. That realization prompted him to look for a way to gather all the information into one place and make it available on a convenient mobile platform.
The web- and app-based service will allow victims of sexual assault to report the incident — either anonymously or with identifying information — to the authorities of their choice. The user enters information about the incident and can choose to inform the university, the campus Title IX office and/or the police.
Users who enter information and then don’t feel like they want to send it can also choose to store the information until they are ready to pass it on to officials. “After an event that is really traumatic, a person may want to wait to come forward,” explains co-founder and certified sexual assault nurse Stacy Garrity.
The team members add that this is not a platform for people to put their stories out to the public or media, but rather for victims to report incidents to authorities. But it isn’t only intended to be a reporting platform; the app also will link victims to physical and psychological healthcare providers.
The service makes it less intimidating to report incidents and takes the guesswork out of trying to discover or remember available resources, the co-founders say. Harris stresses that “actNOW is a liaison to the services. We do not provide the actual psychological or physical health services.”
The service started as Harris’ academic project at Georgetown University, and he found Garrity through researching sexual assault resources. Along with Harris’ longtime friend Reynolds, the three officially launched actNOW in March. The Arlington-based business now has six employees.
Much time has been dedicated to researching and initiating appropriate app security measures for both sexual assault victims and the universities where assaults occur. “We have to be mindful of each university’s rules for investigations,” Harris says. In addition, actNOW employees want to make sure strong security measures are in place to ensure the utmost protection for victims’ identifying information and HIPAA privacy.
Currently, actNOW has an app prototype and employees are getting feedback on it from sexual assault victims; so far, the response has been positive. The employees are actively seeking funding and participated in a pitch competition a couple weeks ago. They’re working toward formal app development, which they hope to begin with a tech firm in the next few weeks. If all goes well, they’d like to send the finished app to universities in April 2017 during Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
The goal is to spend the next three years or so maturing actNOW through activities such as receiving focus group feedback and adding additional features to the service. Eventually, employees would like to explore the possibility of expanding the service to the military.
As far as measuring success with the tool, the actNOW team says that’s achieved when people actually use the tool to get help. “It’s really hard for people to report sexual assault,” Garrity says. “So when we start to see usage of the product, I think we’ll see success.”
The team hopes their passion for developing empowerment through technology will help victims both in the short term and down the road, while simultaneously raising awareness about sexual assault.
“We want to put control back in our users’ hands,” Harris says.
Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) held a roundtable discussion on the fifth anniversary of the signing of the Affordable Care Act today at Arlington Mill Community Center.
McAuliffe and Beyer joined federal Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell to host about a dozen healthcare professionals, customers, legislators and healthcare business leaders and talk about the impacts of the ACA, also known as Obamacare, and the future of Medicaid expansion in Virginia.
“This is Virginia, the birthplace of our nation in 1607,” McAuliffe said. “We have a responsibility [to expand health insurance coverage].”
Dels. Patrick Hope and Alfonso Lopez were in attendance, as were state Sen. Barbara Favola and Arlington County Board member Walter Tejada. Hope pointed out that an expansion of Medicaid in Virginia would immediately cover 5,000 Arlington residents.
“We have got to solve this problem in Virginia,” Hope said.
Much of the discussion centered around the impact felt by the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, not the absence of an expanded Medicaid. Beyer told a story about a worker at his car dealership who, before the ACA’s passage, couldn’t put his sick wife on health insurance because she had a pre-existing condition. The ACA made it illegal for insurance companies to deny insurance based on pre-existing conditions.
“I really think the Affordable Care Act will be remembered as the most significant moral legislation of the early 21st century,” Beyer said. “There was the Emancipation Proclamation, women’s suffrage, Social Security and now the Affordable Care Act.”
Burwell touted numbers that she say prove the ACA has started to accomplish its goals. Since 2010, 16.4 million fewer Americans are uninsured, she said, and hospitals saved $7.4 billion in 2014 in uncompensated care costs — what happens when a patient cannot afford to pay their medical bills.
Still, Burwell said, more than 60 percent of the uncompensated care savings came from states that have approved Medicaid expansion. That’s money McAuliffe said would go back into the Virginia economy if the legislature were to approve his recommendation.
“Talking to governors from states that have expanded, it’s not only given them healthcare, it’s a huge job creator,” he said.
McAuliffe pushed hard to get the Republican-controlled General Assembly to pass Medicaid expansion during its legislative session, but his attempts failed — partly, he said, because of GOP legislators’ fears of being beaten by a Tea Party candidate in a primary. Next year, McAuliffe believes the legislature will be more willing to close the coverage gap.
But the estimated 400,000 state residents who do not have health insurance will have to continue to wait after Hope’s healthcare bill, HB 2212, was defeated by voice vote by a House of Delegates subcommittee.
“Disappointed my bill [to] expand access to 400k Virginians was defeated,” Hope tweeted yesterday. “The uninsured aren’t going away; neither am I.”
Hope has been the lead delegate in the House of Delegates’ Democratic Caucus on health care, with efforts again focused on expanding Medicaid as part of the Affordable Care Act. The issue is one of Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s priorities for this legislative session.
Speaking to ARLnow.com last week, Hope said he believed bipartisan support was possible for his bill, either in its proposed form or after amendments.
“I’m optimistic we are going to pass this bill or a version of it,” he said. “Virginia is getting closer and closer to that day. We really can’t ignore the economics of this. It’s mainly because we’re really double and triple taxing our residents every single day if we don’t do anything.”
The state’s wealthier residents are already paying taxes to fund federal Medicaid expansion, Hope said, and if Virginia doesn’t expand Medicaid, the money “goes right to Washington, not us.” In addition, Hope said, hospitals that care for uninsured patients who can’t pay their bills pass on the expenses in the forms of higher premiums and costs to those paying for insurance.
Hope said expanding Medicaid would inject $2 billion into the economy by covering holes in the budget, creating Medicaid-related jobs and lowering premiums. The state budgets $200 million for prison reform, mental illness and indigent care, Hope said, all of which would be covered by Medicaid and the federal government.
“Virginia families all over the commonwealth are one accident or one illness away from financial ruin,” Hope said. “The economics are so overwhelming, and I just don’t see how much longer we can walk away from $2 billion because people will still be getting sick.”
On the phone from Richmond this morning, Hope was defiant about expanding Medicaid, saying Republicans are putting “politics before economics” in a year every member of the General Assembly is up for re-election. Thirty states have voted to expand Medicaid, he said, 10 of which have Republican governors.
“Virginia’s just not there in an election year,” he said. “I think it’s just going to reach a point where we can no longer let our politics get in the way of what’s right. I generally have a policy of when I see $2 billion on the ground, I pick it up.”
Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) plans to help more than 200,000 Virginians without health insurance secure coverage, he announced yesterday in a move that follows the defeat of Medicaid expansion in the Republican-controlled General Assembly.
McAuliffe unveiled a 10-point plan through which the majority of the newly covered — about 160,000 — will get assistance signing up for via the federal Affordable Care Act. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services has approved $4.3 million for outreach to help eligible individuals sign up, McAuliffe announced.
The plan includes measures to provide more and better care to those with mental illnesses, give dental care to pregnant women on Medicaid and FAMIS and launch a website “to inform Virginians of their coverage options and help them enroll,” among other platforms.
“As governor, there is no greater responsibility than ensuring the health and safety of the citizens you serve,” McAuliffe said in a statement. “Through my plan, I am taking action by authorizing four emergency regulations and issuing one executive order that will address urgent health needs and put us on a pathway toward Building a New Virginia Economy. However, these steps are just the beginning, and we must continue to press forward together to achieve better health for all of our citizens.”
Republican Party of Virginia spokesman Garrett Shipley told The Washington Post that McAuliffe’s plan is insufficient.
“The emperor has no clothes,” Shipley said. “Once again, Terry McAuliffe has far over-promised, and mightily under-delivered.”
Rep. Jim Moran applauded McAuliffe’s actions, saying 400,000 Virginians were “left out in the cold” when the General Assembly rejected the option to expand Medicaid.
“Governor McAuliffe’s initiative, A Healthy Virginia, will help to right that wrong and secure quality healthcare for those Virginians most in need,” Moran said in a press release. “Unfortunately, the Republicans running the Commonwealth’s legislature are committed to their partisan agenda and continue to block healthcare for the 400,000 Virginians who need it most. Thankfully, from mental healthcare for the underprivileged to accelerated access to treatment for our veterans, this plan goes a long way to reaching the goals of the Affordable Care Act.”
However, Delegate-elect Rip Sullivan (D-48), while praising McAuliffe’s efforts, said they don’t go far enough.
“While the Governor’s plan is a welcome and creative step in the right direction, it is not the solution, nor the remedy for Virginia’s ailing coverage gap issue,” Sullivan’s campaign said in an email.
“Gov. McAuliffe’s announcement today will enable many more Virginians to access quality, affordable healthcare,” Sen. Barbara Favola said in a statement. “But as the governor said, there are no substitutes for closing the coverage gap. We’re still missing an opportunity to save lives, save money and help keep endangered hospitals open for business. That means Republicans still need to come to the table.”
Del. Patrick Hope thanked McAuliffe on Twitter. “This is what real leadership looks like,” he wrote.