Home Virginia Politics Gov. McAuliffe Kicks Off Special Session with Proposals on Budget, Closing Coverage...

Gov. McAuliffe Kicks Off Special Session with Proposals on Budget, Closing Coverage Gap

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The following photo is courtesy of Del. Marcus Simon. A few more comments from Virginia Democrats:

Del. Alfonso Lopez: “At Governor McAuliffe’s Budget announcement this morning. He is offering his own Budget – with 104 new amendments to the old McDonnell Budget. I agree with the Governor – we already pay our federal taxes into the ACA system. Why would we not avail ourselves of the $5 million a day in benefits?…Incredibly happy to report that the new Budget from Governor McAuliffe includes the FULL $8 million for the Virginia Affordable Housing Trust Fund!! Let’s continue to capitalize this critically important program for our region and the entire Commonwealth.”

Del. Scott Surovell: “Governor McAuliffe presents his new budget proposal including closing the gap….$410 million lost & counting – Off to Special Session to save taxpayers some $$$ & give all the dignity of healthcare…Gov McAuliffe – Price Waterhouse has certified that closing the gap will save VA taxpayers over one billion dollars…Federal Government has greenlighted VA pilot project to close the gap – there are no more excuses…Gov McAuliffe – Medicaid reforms have been included in the budget for years – ‘clean budget’ is a gimmick…Gov McAuliffe new budget 2% raise for all state employees and teachers…Gov McAuliffe –  $100m for closing the gap contingency, money for pre-k, mental health, and land conservation”

Del. Rob Krupicka: “Gov’s proposed budget includes 2% raise for teachers, new preK and mental health funds, more support for schools, higher Ed and pub safety…Many rural hospitals at negative cash flow now without Medicaid expansion.  We need to keep them open.”

Del. Mark Keam: “Gov. McAuliffe has proposed a sensible compromise to break budget gridlock and to provide healthcare coverage gap for uninsured Virginians…Let’s hope my @VaHouse colleagues take a serious look at @GovernorVA compromise and accept the 2 week healthcare pilot project in budget.”

Del. Ken Plum: “A masterful proposal by Governor McAuliffe to resolve the budget impasse – at Virginia State Capitol”

LG Ralph Northam’s Chief of Staff Clark Mercer: “Governor McAuliffe proposes 2 year pilot for closing coverage gap- 100% federal dollars with $225 million in savings to state budget; 2% raise for teachers, increase in mental health and pre-K funding, etc. A strong and spirited presentation by the Governor- great leadership!”

  • ir003436

    One of the arguments the Republicans are using against Medicare expansion is “We can’t trust the feds to pay their share in the future.”  This argument claims that, well, yes, the feds will pay 100% for three years and state expense is capped at 10% after that, but, you know how those feds are — they may jerk the rug out from under us.

    My response is:  For decades Virginia — and every other state — has received hundreds of millions of federal dollars for roads, airports, ports, law enforcement, schools, etc., etc., etc.  As best I can tell, VA got over $1 billion in federal money last year alone.  WHY AREN’T THE REPUBLICANS WORRIED ABOUT LOSING THIS MONEY??

    So — here’s the question:  How much federal revenue is included in Gov. McAuliffe’s budget?  Why aren’t the Republicans worried about those funds?

  • McAuliffe budget closes health care coverage gap, invests in key priorities

    Richmond, VA – As the General Assembly begins its special session today, Governor Terry McAuliffe released a two-year budget for the legislature to consider and pass in order to conclude its work for the year. The Governor’s budget is based on the budget introduced by his predecessor at the beginning of the legislative session, with 104 amendments that reflect the Governor’s priorities, including using Virginians’ own federal tax dollars to close the health care coverage gap.

    “This budget is balanced and responsible, and it reflects the pressing urgency to take action to use our own tax dollars to cover up to 400,000 Virginia families over the next two years,” said Governor McAuliffe. “By accepting those dollars and realizing the hundreds of millions savings we will reap in this budget by closing the coverage gap, we will also be able to increase Virginia’s commitment to state employees, teachers, first responders, and many other essential functions of our state government.

    “At the urging of Republicans in the House of Delegates, I have agreed to introduce a two-year pilot program to close the health care coverage gap so that we can provide coverage now, and reevaluate at the end of those two years. This proposal gives Virginia the flexibility to ensure that the program works for our citizens and our budget before moving forward. And I am pleased to announce that the federal government’s Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has advised Virginia that we can end the program without penalty if it does not serve Virginians well over those two years.

    “Passing this budget, which closes the health care coverage gap and invests in our core priorities, is the right thing to do for Virginia families. I am eager to get to work with Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate to find common ground so that we can end this stalemate, pass a budget and bring our federal dollars home to help 400,000 people access care that is essential to healthy and productive lives.

    “Now is the time to put politics aside and act for the good of the families we serve. Virginians have waited long enough.”

    Below are highlights of the Governor’s budget:

    Closing the Healthcare Coverage Gap:

    ü  2-Year Pilot, with federal approval to withdraw if necessary

    ü  Up to 400,000 Virginians Covered

    ü  $225 Million in Net Savings

    ü  Bring Our Taxpayer Dollars Back to Virginia

    ü  No Permanent Obligation

    New investments in the McAuliffe Budget:

    ü  $100 million in the Virginia Health Reform and Innovation Fund for future healthcare costs

    ü  $76 million as a reserve payment for the Virginia Retirement System

    ü  2% salary increase for state employees, K-12 teachers and support personnel, college and university faculty , constitutional officers and state-supported local employees

    ü  $17 million for Line of Duty Act

    ü  $8.9 million for mental health

    ü  $7.1 million for land conservation

    ü  $7.4 million for pre-K funding

    ü  $5.4 million for the cost of competing

    ü  $3.2 million of “Hold Harmless” funding for schools

    ü  $4.8 million for extended school year grants

    ü  $5.1 million in unappropriated balance

  • VA6thDem

    is whether Medicaid Plan Amendments as proposed by McAuliffe can be done at the Executive level without the GA. We know if there are work plan requirements that would require federal approval but he already has federal approval for his plan that does not have the draconian requirements some in the GOP want. Has he effectively done an end-run?

  • From Planned Parenthood VA:

    Richmond, VA – Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia (PPAV) and women across the state applaud Governor McAuliffe for standing with Virginia families and proposing an expansion to Medicaid as part of the legislative special session. Recent Public Policy Polling in five Virginia House of Delegates districts shows broad support for proposals to close the coverage gap for 400,000 Virginians through Medicaid expansion.

    As of today, a handful of obstructionist lawmakers have cost Virginia taxpayers $410 million in lost funds for refusing to close the health care coverage gap. In the galley, PPAV joined with allies to wear blue t-shirts baring the “$410” amount to highlight the lost taxpayer funds.

    Women, in particular, will benefit from Medicaid expansion because it will mean more access to critical reproductive health care, like birth control, well woman exams, pregnancy-related care, and breast health screenings.

    “We are proud to have a Governor that prioritizes the health of Virginians over political games. Bringing the tax dollars of Virginians back to the Commonwealth and expanding Medicaid would mean that hundreds of thousands of hard-working women and families would have access to quality health care when they need it, without facing devastating medical bills,” said Cianti Stewart-Reid, Executive Director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia.

    Virginia is one of several states considering Medicaid expansion. According to the Shriver Report, released last month by Maria Shriver and the Center for American Progress, one-third of all American women are living at “the brink of poverty,” meaning that they earn less than $47,000 per year for a family of four. “Forty-two million women, and the 28 million children who depend on them, are living one single incident-a doctor’s bill, a late paycheck, or a broken-down car-away from economic ruin,” the report reveals.

    “More than 24,000 women and men across Virginia come to Planned Parenthood health centers every year. We see firsthand the need for affordable and high quality lifesaving preventive health care, like cervical cancer screenings, breast health exams and birth control. Hard- working Virginia families can’t afford to wait another day for our lawmakers to expand Medicaid and close the health care coverage gap,” added Stewart-Reid.

    Virginia women and families need – and support – more access to health care, not less.

    In all five districts recently polled by Public Policy Polling, voters supported closing the coverage gap by double-digit margins.

    More than half of all pregnancies in Virginia are unintended and in 2008, there were 375,500 women in need of affordable contraceptive services and supplies.

    Rural women – specifically in the Alleghany, Rappahannock, and Southern Virginia market regions, have seen a huge increase in the distance they must travel to receive OB-GYN care due to closures.

    According to ACOG, in 2011, 39 percent of Virginia’s counties did not have any OB‐GYNs.

    In 2010-2011, 18 percent of women aged 15-44 in Virginia were uninsured.

    Virginia ranks in the worst category for rates of breast cancer deaths among both African American and white women.

  • clark

    Lieutenant Governor Northam Applauds Governor’s Budget, Pilot Program to Close the Healthcare Coverage Gap

    Richmond, VA – Today Lieutenant Governor Northam applauded the release of Governor McAuliffe’s FY2015-2016 budget and the inclusion of a 2 year pilot program to close the health care coverage gap by accessing Virginia’s share of federal money to provide access to health insurance for low income individuals. The program would cover up to 400,000 Virginians who currently fall into the health care coverage gap and would save the state an estimated $225 million.

    “As a physician, veteran, parent, and policy maker, I understand how critical it is to close the health care coverage gap for uninsured Virginians. The 2 year pilot program included in Governor McAuliffe’s FY2015-2016 budget ensures that Virginia is able to access millions of federal dollars already allocated to the Commonwealth while also providing an opportunity to reevaluate the program, and withdraw from it if necessary, before the match rate falls below 100% and Virginia begins paying its share of the program costs. Uninsured Virginians, hospitals, and businesses throughout the Commonwealth desperately need Virginia lawmakers to put politics aside, close the health care coverage gap, and move forward as quickly as possible.”

    Lieutenant Governor Northam also authored “Don’t Place Politics with Virginians Health,” an opinion piece published in the Free Lance Star last weekend.

  • ir003436

    The Republicans are touting an Oregon study conducted two years after Oregon instituted Medicaid expansion.

    http://www.nber.org/oregon/

    The results of the study are mixed:

    — Did not decrease ER visits

    — Did reduce a lot of costs, both for patients and hospitals

    — Did not cause an appreciable improvement in the overall health of new insureds

    — Read the study for the full list of findings.

    Based on these results, Virginia Republicans are saying we should not institute Medicaid expansion.

    Our response to these claims should  be:  Medicaid expansion provides medical insurance to people who (1) never had medical insurance before (or who lost their insurance years ago) and, as a result, they are in poor health, many with chronic conditions; (2) to elderly people, many of whom have chronic illnesses; and, (3) to people whose lack of health insurance has instilled in them bad health care habits — dependent on the emergency room for primary care, without a steady source of medication or therapy, and resulting poor health.

    The major goal of Medicaid expansion is to get people into the health insurance system where they can form the habit of regular visits to doctors accompanied by use of medication and therapy, and break their reliance on the emergency room as a primary care provider.  None of this will happen overnight — social security did not end poverty among the elderly in two years — Medicaid expansion will not bring immediately improved health to the uninsured, elderly, and people with chronic conditions or poor health care habits.

    The role of our state representatives is to look to the future and set a course for a better future, not look backward or look only two years ahead.