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May 31, 2018

Virginia expands Medicaid to 400,000 people

Below is a statement from NPAF on the historic vote to expand Medicaid in Virginia. Virginia will join 32 other states and the District of Columbia in expanding the Medicaid program to people with incomes of up to 138% of the federal poverty limit, or $16,643 for an individual.  

Washington, DC—“As the Virginia legislature voted today to expand Medicaid, NPAF celebrated alongside the 400,000 Commonwealth residents who now have access to health care.

We are especially heartened by the bipartisan nature of the vote.  After all, lack of health care access is a bipartisan issue, affecting people in rural and urban communities throughout Virginia and the United States.

Before Medicaid expansion, a working parent who made $5,728 a year was disqualified from the Medicaid program for earning too much. Although most Virginians have insurance coverage through their employer, many low-paying, hourly or part-time jobs don’t offer health care benefits. In some parts of the Commonwealth, these are the only jobs available. We have worked with people who work three such jobs, but still receive no benefits and cannot afford them. For these Virginians, Medicaid is their only possibility for coverage – but in Virginia, a working parent making $5,728 a year made “too much” to qualify for Medicaid—but too little to afford a private insurance plan.

Health coverage changes a family’s entire circumstances and opens new economic opportunities. Through the case managers at the Patient Advocate Foundation, we are lucky to witness the profound affect that access to health care has on patients. We have worked with patients whose untreated conditions kept them housebound, until access to health care managed their symptoms and put them back into the workforce. We have worked with patients whose health insurance meant they could go back to school and rise to the next level in their career. And we have worked with patients who were facing certain bankruptcy until they qualified for emergency coverage under the Medicaid program.

We would like to thank the countless volunteers who worked tirelessly on this issue for years. The results of today’s vote prove that patient voices matter and that bipartisan solutions can be found to the benefit of us all.”