Home Virginia Politics “Governor McAuliffe Announces Measures to Expand Healthcare Services to Over 200,000 Virginians”

“Governor McAuliffe Announces Measures to Expand Healthcare Services to Over 200,000 Virginians”


From Gov. McAuliffe's office…not sure what to make of this exactly.  Also see  “A Healthy Virginia” for more. Meanwhile, the Washington Post is reporting that the plan will “insure an additional 25,000 Virginians, a measure that falls far short of his vow to defy the Republican-controlled legislature and find a way to expand coverage to 400,000.” I'm confused, is it 200,000 or 25,000 or what? Oh, and the Richmond Times Dispatch say sthe plan “would provide coverage to only about 20,000.” Sounds like the key word is “touches” (e.g., “touches oer 200,000 Virginians”) and how you define that word. Regardless, the bottom line is that Virginia Republicans – unlike their brethren in an increasing number of states around the country – have been fiscally irresponsible, not to mention cold-hearted, in refusing time and again to expand Medicaid in Virginia. It's truly outrageous, and we should all remember it in November 2015!

Launches 10-step plan that will reach Virginia’s most vulnerable citizens


Today Governor McAuliffe launched A Healthy Virginiaa 10-step plan to expand healthcare services to over 200,000 Virginians. This plan is an unprecedented action by any governor in Virginia history and includes authorizations of four emergency regulations, one executive order, and innovative and creative solutions to expand healthcare to Virginia veterans, children, and families.  


“As governor, there is no greater responsibility than ensuring the health and safety of the citizens you serve. That is why I am so proud to stand here today and unveil A Healthy Virginia – a plan that will improve the lives of more than 200,000 citizens throughout the Commonwealth,” said Governor McAuliffe. “Through my plan, I am taking action by authorizing 4 emergency regulations and issuing 1 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.”



Governor McAuliffe’s Plan: A Healthy Virginia



Step 1: Covering people with serious mental illness  


The Governor will launch the Governor’s Access Plan, or GAP, to make sure real health care reforms reach our neediest citizens.


This new and innovative plan will provide medical and behavioral health care to approximately 20,000 uninsured Virginians with severe mental illnesses.


Under Virginia Code Section 2.2-4011, Governor McAuliffe will authorize his staff to start the emergency regulation process and work with CMS on the needed waiver for this coverage. 


Step 2: Improve the coordination of care for adults and children who are already covered by Medicaid and have a serious mental illness


Governor McAuliffe is authorizing the Department of Medical Assistance Services to issue regulations to establish health homes for individuals with severe mental illness. These health homes are not physical spaces, but instead, are a model of care in which all of an individual’s primary, acute, behavioral, and long-term care services are coordinated and integrated.


By implementing this program with minimal investment, Virginia can get a 90 percent match rate of federal money. This is a fiscally responsible step that will provide 13,000 of the neediest Virginians the quality care they need.  


Steps 3 & 4: Sign up more Virginians for the Federal Marketplace, Medicaid, and FAMIS  


Unfortunately, in recent years enrollment numbers for Medicaid and FAMIS have declined and Virginia is below the national average in enrollment. Governor McAuliffe is determined to reverse that trend.


Governor McAuliffe will leverage federal and state resources to help enroll an additional 35,000 children in FAMIS and 160,000 people in the federal marketplace for health insurance.


CMS has approved the use of $4.3 million in federal health care funds to communicate with Virginians about the opportunities they have to access coverage, and on August 15th Virginia applied for an additional $10 million that will further amplify Virginia’s outreach efforts.


This outreach campaign will inform Virginians about coverage options that are already available through the federal marketplace, Medicaid and FAMIS.


Step 5: Open up FAMIS for eligible state workers to insure their children


Governor McAuliffe is directing DMAS to issue an emergency regulation making FAMIS available to the children of lower-income state workers.


By opening up this program to children of Virginia’s state workforce, Virginia can provide 5,000 children access to affordable, high-quality, and comprehensive health care. This is also a smart business practice as well since it will shift some of the costs of care from the state budget to the federal government.


Step 6: Provide dental benefits to pregnant women in Medicaid and FAMIS


Governor McAuliffe is directing DMAS to issue emergency regulations to provide comprehensive dental coverage to 45,000 pregnant women in Medicaid and FAMIS.


When a woman becomes pregnant, having access to good dental services is imperative for a healthy delivery and baby.  Adding dental coverage for pregnant women enrolled in Medicaid or FAMIS MOMS will reduce the prevalence of preterm birth, cut-down on emergency dental expenditures, and decrease the state’s cost of dental care for children. 


Step 7: Launch an innovative new website to inform Virginians of their coverage options and help them enroll


To make it easier to apply for coverage, a new and improved Cover Virginia website will be launched by this November. The Governor and his team will ensure that the Cover Virginia website is more user-friendly, has all the information our citizens need, and makes it as easy as humanly possible to apply for coverage through our existing programs.


Step 8: Accelerating access to quality health care for our veterans


A recent report showed Virginia ranked last in the nation in the number of VA hospitals and clinics available, per capita, to meet the needs of our rapidly growing veteran population.  Governor McAuliffe is committed to changing the dynamic of veteran access to health care in the Commonwealth.


Working with their counterparts in the Veterans Health Administration, Secretary of Health and Human Resources Bill Hazel and Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs John Harvey will lead Virginia's efforts to take full advantage of the recent legislation signed by President Obama that made $10 billion in federal money available to veterans to seek health care outside the VA system if they have barriers to access.


Step 9: Take bold actions to reduce deaths from prescription drug and heroin abuse


Last year, more Virginians died of overdose than were killed in car accidents. The prescription drug problem has reached a crisis in Virginia, where some county death rates are the highest in the entire nation.


Under Governor McAuliffe’s plan, he will act to significantly reduce the number of drug-related deaths in Virginia and will create the Task Force to Combat Prescription Drug and Heroin Abuse.


Step 10: Aggressively pursue Federal grants that can bring new dollars into Virginia for health care


Governor McAuliffe has directed his staff to pursue every federal grant currently available for health care and innovation.


Virginia, in partnership with the Virginia Center for Health Innovation, has applied for $2.6 million in federal funding through the CMS State Innovation Model grant program.  If approved, this funding will help the Commonwealth realize a broad vision for statewide health care reform that improves the health of all Virginians and will help to build a New Virginia Economy.


  • Fairfax Voter

    This is all he can do without the legislature. A sad day.  

  • pvogel

    88 of the most vile scum  of this new century      plop down the the chairs  and       respond to their  masters.     Thats  the way I see it

  • Richmond, VA – In response to today’s announcement by Governor McAuliffe that the Commonwealth will provide additional health care coverage and services to 200,000 Virginians, Lieutenant Governor Northam released the following statement:

    “I applaud the efforts of Governor McAuliffe and his administration to find every possible way to provide health care coverage and services to our children, veterans, pregnant moms, and individuals with mental health illnesses. Today’s announcement means that health care services will be more affordable for 200,000 Virginians. By investing in their health and well-being, we are making long term investments in the human capital we need to thrive and compete economically.

    However, it is clear that these new initiatives are no substitute for a full expansion of Medicaid in the Commonwealth. There are still hundreds of thousands of working Virginians who will continue to go without the care they need. Under Medicaid Expansion, Virginia stands to gain upwards of 25,000 jobs; billions of federal dollars; and coverage for more than 400,000 currently uninsured, low-income, hardworking Virginians. The moral and business case for Medicaid expansion is clear. Healthy Virginia is a fantastic beginning, but it is imperative that legislators come together during the Special Session next week to find common ground for those Virginians whose health and lives depend on it.”  


  • Governor Launches 10-Step Plan to Expand Healthcare to 200,000 Virginians

    Washington, D.C. – Congressman Jim Moran, Northern Virginia Democrat, Ranking Member on the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee and senior member of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, welcomed Governor McAuliffe’s healthcare initiative, A Healthy Virginia, to expand healthcare services to over 200,000 needy Virginians.

    “400,000 of Virginia’s neediest citizens were left out in the cold when Republican leaders in Richmond rejected the federal government’s offer to expand Medicaid coverage in our state,” said Rep. Jim Moran.  “Governor McAuliffe’s initiative, A Healthy Virginia, will help to right that wrong and secure quality healthcare for those Virginians most in need.”

    The Governor’s actions include 4 emergency regulations and 1 executive order to address healthcare insecurity for 200,000 Virginia residents.

    Rep. Moran added, “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.”

    Governor McAuliffe’s initiative includes actions to secure mental health treatment for 20,000 uninsured Virginians, improve coordinated mental healthcare for those already covered by Medicaid, streamline enrollment in the federal healthcare marketplace, and accelerate access to quality healthcare for our veterans.

  • ir003436

    Mary Washington Hospital System in Fredericksburg announced they are laying off 66 full-time employees, thanks to Virginia’s failure to expand Medicaid.

    It’s a complicated matter but that’s the bottom line.


    Mary Washington Hospital is in the 99th HOD district, served by Delegate Margaret Ransone of Kinsale and the 4th Senatorial District, Ryan McDougle of Henrico.

  • From the Virginia House Democratic caucus:

    “I applaud Governor McAuliffe and Secretary Hazel’s impressive efforts and appreciate this entire administration for the work put into these programs,” said Democratic Leader David J. Toscano.  “Now it is up to Speaker Howell and the House Republican Caucus to come up with their own plan to close the coverage gap.”

  • WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine released the following statement on Governor Terry McAuliffe’s “A Healthy Virginia” plan and initiatives announced by Attorney General Mark Herring to combat drug abuse in the Commonwealth:

    “I’m pleased Governor McAuliffe will act to expand healthcare services to more than 200,000 Virginians and has answered our call to create a Task Force to Combat Prescription Drug and Heroin Abuse, which will be a critical tool as we address the rapid spread of opioid abuse across the Commonwealth. Following conversations I’ve had with local leaders, law enforcement, and employers, it’s clear that drug abuse is a serious epidemic that is having a devastating impact on Virginia communities and our workforce. I am pleased that Attorney General Herring will work with law enforcement  to update prescription drug take-back materials for law enforcement officials and increase access to naloxone, a lifesaving drug that members of my staff and I were trained to administer by Project REVIVE in Lebanon. I hope to see continued coordination between public health officials and law enforcement, as well as leaders at the state and federal levels as we work to reduce the number of drug-related deaths in Virginia.”

    In June, Kaine joined 11 members of the Virginia Congressional Delegation to call on Governor McAuliffe to establish a statewide task force to address the growing heroin epidemic in Virginia. Kaine has raised concerns over drug abuse in Virginia with White House Drug Policy Acting Director Michael Botticelli and in a letter to U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, which focused on the recent FDA approval of Zohydro ER and how it could potentially heighten the public health risk of opioid abuse in Virginia.

    In addition, Kaine recently addressed a drug court graduation ceremony in Roanoke, visited Richmond-based pharmaceutical company Kaléo, which received FDA approval for its new naloxone auto-injector delivery system  EVZIO™, and participated in the Project REVIVE training in Lebanon, where he and other participants learned how to administer naloxone. Kaine has also written to urge the Obama Administration to move quickly to allow the Department of Defense (DoD) and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to establish take-back programs for prescription drugs.

  • “Virginia Organizing is encouraged by the innovation and commitment to family and community health that Governor McAuliffe’s expanded health care plan entails. However, this does not excuse the Virginia General Assembly from their responsibility to expand Medicaid and close the health insurance coverage gap for about 400,000 Virginians whose lives depend on access to quality care. Now that the Governor has acted within his authority, the General Assembly needs to move forward. Virginia Organizing calls on the Virginia Senate and House of Delegates to be leaders in job creation and access to health care and to put the lives of their constituents over politics.”

  • “Governor McAuliffe has shown time and again that he is committed to bringing quality, affordable health care to more Virginians and strengthening our economy. He’s taken a bold step today to extend services and coverage to those who badly need them. It’s an important move, and Virginians now need the General Assembly to step up and do its part to close the coverage gap. All across the country, states with Republican and Democratic leadership in the executive and legislative branches have helped closed the coverage gap with a responsible expansion of Medicaid because it’s the right thing to do financially and morally. Unfortunately, the only leadership we’ve seen from those that control the General Assembly are extraordinary efforts to prevent extending coverage to Virginia families by any means necessary, and no alternative plan has gained the support of legislative leadership. In the upcoming special session, the legislative leadership needs to put aside political ideologies and find a path forward to do what’s best for hundreds of thousands of Virginians.”

  • “The governor’s efforts today are an important step in the right direction – but there is work left to do. Until House Republicans are willing to act, too many hardworking Virginians will have no way to access the care they deserve. Republicans promised a plan back in January; the governor has now done much of the work. When we reconvene, Republicans need to finish the job and close the coverage gap.”  

  •  “Gov. McAuliffe’s announcement today will enable many more Virginians to access quality, affordable health care – 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.”

  • Kudos to Governor McAuliffe for launching his Healthy Virginia initiative to provide health services to Virginians in need. The governor has managed to find a way to provide basic, much-needed services to the neediest among us despite the repeated refusal by the Republican majority to address the issue.

    While the General Assembly majority continues to throw roadblocks in front of Governor McAuliffe’s efforts to accept billions of federal dollars to implement Medicaid Expansion proposals, I applaud the governor for being relentless in his quest to finds ways within his power to improve health care in Virginia.

    Legislative intransigence has already squandered more than $1 billion in federal funds that could have been used to expand health care programs for 400,000 uninsured Virginians at no additional cost to Virginia taxpayers.

    By his actions today, Governor McAuliffe has sent a strong message to the Virginia General Assembly that he is going to rise above their callous partisanship and do everything he can within his executive power to improve health care for all Virginians.

  • Putting a Bandaid Over the Coverage Gap Wound: Governor’s Ten-Point Plan for a Healthy Virginia is a Good Step, but No Cure for Closing the Gap

    Governor McAuliffe’s ten-point “Healthy Virginia Plan,” which he announced today, will impact the lives of some, but certainly not all of the deserving Virginians who would receive healthcare coverage under Medicaid expansion.  The Governor’s plan includes an executive order and four emergency regulations that focus on increasing healthcare access for people with severe mental health issues, veterans, pregnant women and children. While House Republicans have been insistent on blocking Medicaid expansion, the Governor’s team has worked tirelessly with the Office of the Attorney General to ensure that his ten-point plan is safely within the confines of the Governor’s executive authority. 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.

    Virginia is quickly falling behind an ever-increasing number of other states. Just this past week four GOP Governors announced plans to expand their state Medicaid programs. GOP state officials elsewhere are touting expansion as a necessary measure to save hospitals from financial ruin. Virginia hospitals, on the other hand, are already feeling the deep and burdensome impact to their budgets as a result of not expanding. As the Governor noted in his address this morning, the Mary Washington Healthcare (MWHC) system has announced a number of job cuts, hundreds of job position reductions and transfers, in order to recoup $8.2 million dollars lost in 2013. It is bracing for another $31 million dollars in losses for 2014. Mary Washington Healthcare is the largest hospital located in Speaker Howell’s district. Medicaid expansion could help MWHC’s bottom line by about $14 million annually. MWHC’s CEO, Fred Rankin, has questioned the Speaker’s actions and has pleaded with him, as a constituent, to compromise on Medicaid expansion. The actions of the Speaker and House Republicans have led many to question how these elected officials can truly claim to represent the people they serve.  It seems evident that House Republicans are instead allowing a small minority of conservatives to ignore-to the detriment of Virginia and Virginians–what has finally been found to be common sense to many of their GOP counterparts across the nation.

    Governor McAuliffe’s bold action will be part of a solution to increase access to care and decrease hospital budget burdens, but it pales in comparison to what Medicaid expansion would do for the citizens of the Commonwealth. Delegate-Elect Sullivan has been unwavering in his actions to support the Governor and his efforts to expand Medicaid to hundreds of thousands of deserving Virginians.  He brought a bold Medicaid petition to his meeting with Speaker Howell during their initial meeting this past August.

    “It is important that House Republicans understand the damage they are causing to the people they represent– who comprise their patient, provider and uninsured constituents,” Delegate-Elect Sullivan commented.  “As a recently elected member who just finished knocking on hundreds of doors and talking Medicaid expansion with hundreds of constituents, I feel passionately about my responsibility to my constituents and understand the challenges we face if the General Assembly continues to stubbornly ignore the needs of the citizens of the Commonwealth. I am committed to closing the coverage gap.”

  • pvogel

    The  Republicans  in Richmond are the most vile  group of politicians in history.        I can ponly hope that more folks  will come to realize this