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Medicaid rallies draw fiery crowd in Ashburn

Republican state Dels. Dave LaRock, Tag Greason and Randy Minchew (pictured, from left) participated in an Americans for Prosperity-hosted Medicaid town hall in Ashburn April 28. Times-Mirror Photo/Rick Wasser
Three Republican delegates from Loudoun stood firm Monday night in their opposition to expanded Medicaid in Virginia, this despite a largely hostile, relentless audience lobbying in favor of extending the health care program to as many as 400,000 Virginians.

At a town hall-style forum at the Ashburn library, state Dels. Tag Greason (R-32nd), Randy Minchew (R-10th) and David LaRock (R-33rd) were deluged with questions about why they're fighting against Medicaid expansion.

The event was organized by the conservative political action group Americans for Prosperity, which invited only Republican lawmakers to attend and lead the forum. Democratic organizers, however, corralled pro-expansion supporters to Ashburn, enough so that the majority of the audience appeared to favor expansion.

As they've consistently done, the Republican lawmakers voiced doubt that the federal government will make good on its promise to fund Medicaid expansion. Under the Affordable Care Act, commonly called Obamacare, the federal government has pledged to cover 100 percent of the expansion cost for the first three years and 90 percent of the expense thereafter.

The GOP delegates also cried foul on Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) for insisting that the state budget hinge on the approval of Medicaid expansion. The Medicaid battle in Virginia has led to a stalemate in finalizing a state budget. If lawmakers can't agree on a spending plan by June 30, state government would likely shut down in July.

“There is no current discussion on the budget right now … and I will tell you, that gives me great pause,” said Del. Greason, who is one of the budget conferees, or negotiators, selected to help reconcile a spending plan. “Your government right now is not negotiating the terms of a budget to try to get past this impasse.”

Greason said he is lobbying for the governor to call the conferees back to Richmond. “Put them in a room until we come up with a solution,” he said.

Audience members, through submitted questions, asked why the delegates wouldn't want to return billions of federal tax dollars sent to Washington to Virginia. Supporters of Medicaid expansion reason that states that have opted into Medicaid expansion are pulling from federal tax dollars paid by Virginians.

“The devil is in the details,” said Minchew. “What is the right vehicle by which those dollars can come back? … I like the concept of those dollars, taxed by our businesses from the federal government, coming back to Virginia. I absolutely do. But, to adopt a program that could have long-term, negative impacts to my commonwealth is something I'm not willing to do.”

Several audience members questioned what the Republican alternative to Medicaid expansion is. Given an estimated 1 million Virginians are without health insurance, how are lawmakers going to improve health care in the commonwealth, they asked.

The delegates responded mostly by speaking in general about implementing reforms to Medicaid and "decoupling" expansion from the state budget.

Medicaid expansion in some form has been endorsed by leading business groups, including the state chamber of commerce, and hospitals of various sizes, including Inova Loudoun.

Democratic state Sens. Barbara Favola (D-31st) and Jennifer Wexton (D-33rd) headlined a meeting at the Ashburn library before the Americans for Propserity forum. Favola and Wexton were quick to point out they were not invited to the AFP town hall, but thanked the liberal-leaning ProgressVA and NARAL Virginia for hosting the pro-expansion rally beforehand.

“As you know, we have a broken health care system. We are in a situation where many people are falling into the coverage gap,” Wexton said. “The House of Delegates refuses to even talk about this issue. Their budget includes $118 million to continue to subsidize emergency room treatment for the sickest people."

A pro-Medicaid expansion speaker addressed several state delegates from Loudoun in Ashburn April 28. Times-Mirror Photo/Rick Wasser

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Guys who push 2 privatize education now complain budget impasse affects support for ed.? Yeah.  Memorized lines, no ‘real responses’ to audience ?s. Best of all, AFP guy stated AFP’s against corporate welfare. Ha

Maybe if Obummer wasnt leading the attack on Benghazi and killing our troops, he could have fixed the website by know

more cowbell - Taxes already pay for the medical care of the poor, instead of making up individual losses for the hospital it is cheaper to put them on medicaid and make them a block of user with the power of negotiation just like the privately insured.

This will save money if you understand the full issue and how health care works.

@fedupdude, I didn’t agree with the war….It’s all a game. I don’t expect SS to be around when I retire and know Medicaid will run out of money soon too. I think funding our schools and roads/transportation is a higher priority. So, you’d rather fund the 400K Virginian’s over local needs?????

With all the excuses Democrats give for why illegals should receive in-state tuition, they never seem to explain why all these illegals who are going to put in the time and money into a 4yr degree can’t apply for a Visa.

In-State tuition by illegals should be contingent on completing an application for a Visa to be in the United States. Just like Financial Aid requires men to sign up for Selective Service.

more cowbell - Too bad we live in a society and we pay taxes and taxes are sometimes used in ways we don’t like; you know like two major wars right after massive tax cuts that helps dig 80% of the debt hole we are in and is part of the reason our economy collapsed.

However what so many people who hate the expansion fail to see is this saves money. Just like ti is cheaper for a person to have an insurance plan where rates are negotiated its better that we lump the uninsured into a group and cover them because as tax payers we have to already make up for them as they can’t pay but can’t be refused service either. Its cheaper to cover them as a group than cover them as individuals. If you don’t get that then you don’t understand the medical system.

Anyone claiming to be a fiscal conservative should be on board. Problem is all the people that can’t stand helping out other people via government programs. Its not about money, this saves money, its about the disdain you hold for poor people.

oranges869 wrote:

Virginia’s Medicaid program is already 22% of the state budget and growing at an unsustainable rate.  Let that sink in: 22% of the entire state budget - and growing.

Sorry but it’s 22% of the General Fund.  The General Fund is roughly 37% of the overall state budget.  So your scary stats are as bogus as the rest of your argument.

Paid group = AFP groupies from PHC

Medicaid doesn’t cover working poor = 110-130%

@fedupdude, funny…. I see it as Rome is burning and while I throw 100’s of buckets of water on it, others sit on the sideline just watching or thinking their 1 bucket of water is good enough.

If you back this then let those help pay. Add a checkbox to VA state form so you all can donate $1K/year…. I prefer to give to other charities.

dlwnova - LOL I was just retorting the lame tactics your fellow “conservatives” used. Problem is facts and numbers are not really on your side here. The fiscally responsible route is to expand healthcare to reduce its costs; its already working in fact.

However we all know so called social conservatives are not interested in doing what makes fiscal sense or reducing problems in society if they feel someone is getting something for free from the government. No matter how many ills it would solve you are so pinched and pruned up about you would rather watch Rome burn than pick up a bucket and toss water on the fire.

“If you have been following the debate over Obamacare’s Medicaid Expansion in Virginia, you know House Republicans are deeply concerned the federal government’s promise to pay their share of the costs of Expansion indefinitely may not hold up. 
The federal government is $17 trillion in debt and forty-cents of every dollar we spend is borrowed.  Do you truly think the federal government can afford to pay 100% of the costs of Medicaid Expansion for the first three years and then 90% of the costs indefinitely?  For every state?
I don’t either.  Virginia’s Medicaid program is already 22% of the state budget and growing at an unsustainable rate.  Let that sink in: 22% of the entire state budget - and growing.
If the federal government reneged on its promise to cover its share of the costs of Medicaid Expansion, Virginia would be left in an extremely compromising position. 
Democrats in the General Assembly have continued to waive off these concerns in the face of blatant lies from the Obama Administration and Senator Warner (“If you like your plan, you can keep it…”)”

fedupdude wrote “This is 100% federally funded for years then 90% federally funded.”

Guess who picks up the 10% when the Feds start cutting payments? Medicaid cost $6,000 per person. When the Feds cut back 10%, Virginians will start paying $250+/million a year for 400,000 people who don’t even qualify for Medicaid today because they aren’t poor enough.

Medicaid already covers the poor. This expansion is little more than a Big Government ploy to increase the number of people depending on Uncle Sam so they keep voting for leftist Democrat policies at the expense of everybody else.

I don’t care who is reportedly funding anything. The point is the government, both state and federal, keeps extorting the hard working, tax paying citizens to subsidize the existence of others. I would never consider myself a republican and feel the liberal governments keeps finding ways to buy more votes and payback all their friends. To the comments about paid patrons at the rally, the democrats do it everyday in DC utilizing homeless and pro-union folks.

The fact that LaRock, Gleason and Minchew show up at an event organized by the “Americans for Prosperity” group says it all.  Founded by David Koch, this astroturf group is as phony as their professed concern about Virginia voters.

Looking on the bright side, the more these three appear in public and debate citizens who don’t reflexively agree with them, the less likely it is we’ll see them around after the next election.

Fedupdude = clueless about politics and most other things I’ve seen you post about. You throw out the words “terrorist” and “racists” and have no clue what’s going on. Stop watching MSNBC and educate yourself on economic policies.

Regardless of the source, the funds we’re turning down _will_ be spent somewhere. The question is whether we get them, or another state’s people get them.

Regarding anonymous comments and their hyperbolic language: Yeah, what Tom Seeman said.

Hey look the doofus is still growing a beard and still not compromising,


Actually the terrorist are the republicans. This is 100% federally funded for years then 90% federally funded. CBO has already shown how medicare expansion is saving tax dollars vs states having to make up money for deadbeats using state run hospitals. It makes 100% fiscal sense to expand medicaid however the right wings refusal to give Obama a win is what is causing a hold up.

Minchew calls it “HIS” commonwealth!! I don’t think so, it’s the peoples commonwealth and Medicaid is to help the people who need help.All of you Republicans who think you are the only ones running this state/country need to wake up and smell the roses. You donate to anything you can just to keep from paying taxes. The poor and some middle class are the ones paying taxes so get over yourself.

I wonder how many in attendance were paid? This is like number 101 in priority list. I’d prefer to see Loudoun County(northern va) get more of our tax money back from Richmond vs Medicaid. To help pay for schools and transportation issues. To those in favor of Medicaid, please feel free to give more tax $$$, nothing stopping you.

Medicaid expansion has (ZERO) purpose being linked with the State Budget. Democrats have decided to link the two together to force Medicaid expansion or sink the state economy if their demands aren’t approved.

We can debate Medicaid expansion on it’s own merits after the state budget, which deals with money for potholes and upgrading police equipment, is approved.

Democrats needs to stop acting like Terrorist.

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