It’s Been A Long Time Comin’
Today was the final step in perhaps the most significant success in my thirteen years in the General Assembly. After five years of advocating, strategizing, cajoling, pleading, and fighting, last week we passed a budget that includes Medicaid expansion to about 400,000 Virginians; today, Gov. Northam signed it into law. It is an amazing feeling to cast a vote that will help so many. There are about 3,400 people in the 57th District who would be eligible for the expanded Medicaid program now, and as many as 10,000 additional people in the local region who would benefit. This is a very significant development and one that bodes well for the future of the Commonwealth. If we do this correctly, more people will have better care and improved access to physicians, and we will spend less on costly emergency room treatment. Our hospitals will be better compensated for the care they provide, and jobs will be created in the process.
As you recall, we have been losing about $5 million a day in our tax dollars that have been flowing to Washington, DC, to be spent in places other than Virginia. The $10 billion that we have lost to date can never be recovered, but this budget decision means that more than $400 million will come into Virginia’s budget. With these health care dollars replacing state funds previously budgeted to cover medical costs, we can now fund raises for our public employees and teachers, increase mental health funding, and provide other services that our Commonwealth desires and deserves.
Thanks To All
There are many people to congratulate for the success of this long-term effort, not the least of whom are all of you who have supported our fight for Medicaid expansion. Today, let us give each other a collective “thank you” and build on this victory to bring more progressive change to the Commonwealth.
Visits in Charlottesville
We are a “citizen legislature.” That means members of the General Assembly spend most of the year in our home districts. I am back in Charlottesville and available to meet with you. Please call my Charlottesville office at (434) 220-1660 to schedule an appointment or to speak by phone.