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GOP Mayor Marching to DC to Save Rural Hospitals Will Meet with Virginia Governor McAuliffe

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I just received this from Eric Byler and wanted to pass it along:


(Richmond, VA) On Tuesday, July 22 at 2 p.m., Belhaven, NC, mayor Adam O’Neal (R), will meet with Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe (D) to discuss the need for Medicaid expansion and rural hospitals. Mayor O’Neal and his supporters will have completed 160 miles of their 14-day, 273-mile march to Washington, DC, where they will ask for the assistance of President Obama, the Department of Justice, and members of Congress.

“A ‘non-profit’ corporation that makes over $100 million per year, with $540 million in reserve, wants to cherry-pick the well-insured patients out of our rural community, but they don’t want to let us keep a critical access hospital we’ve had for 60 years because it will create competition,” O’Neal said. “Whether it’s Virginia, North Carolina, or anywhere in America, you tell someone that and they’ll say ‘That ain’t right.'”

Vidant Health, Inc., which enjoys a near monopoly in eastern North Carolina, recently purchased the Pungo District Hospital and closed it down on July 1. A placard next to the sealed emergency room door instructs people to “call 911.”

Thousands of rural North Carolinians were already traveling more than 50 miles to reach Belhaven’s emergency room. Now, they have more than 80 miles to go for emergency care. Mayor O’Neal will carry with him a framed photo of Portia Gibbs, 48, who died on July 7 waiting for an emergency helicopter. The photo was given to him by her 24-year-old son on the first day of the march.  

Governor McAuliffe has been fighting to expand health coverage by accepting Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, which would insure as many as 400,000 Virginians. McAuliffe has made the argument that forgoing federal dollars which are then spent in other states is killing jobs and endangering rural hospitals. In eastern North Carolina, O’Neal has experienced exactly that.

What:    Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe to meet with Mayor Adam O’Neal, and Save Our Hospital supporters

Who
    Hon. Terry McAuliffe, Governor of Commonwealth of Virginia
               Adam O’Neal, Republican, Mayor of Belhaven, NC
               Bob Zellner, legendary Civil Rights activist, former field secretary of SNCC

When
  Tuesday, July 22 at 2 p.m. (ET)

Where:
  The Virginia Executive Mansion, Capitol Square Richmond, VA
  • Schedule:

    2:00 Governor McAuliffe and Mayor O’Neal photo op at the Governor’s Mansion

    2:15 Mayor O’Neal walks with Massey Whorley from Governor’s Mansion to Bell Tower

    2:20 Jill Hanken, Virginia Poverty Law Center, introduces Mayor – see draft text below

           Mayor O’Neal speaks

           Jill introduces Rhonda Seltz of the Virginia Rural Health Center

           Rhonda speaks

           Jill concludes

           Media inquiries

    3:00 Wrap-up