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The 2014 session of the Virginia General Assembly adjourned on Saturday, March 8th having made great progress in areas such as the strengthening of the mental health system, ethics reform, reforms to the Standard's of Learning and other key areas. Establishing and approving our state budget is the most vital obligation of the General Assembly as it sets the course of our Commonwealth for two years, providing funding for our teachers, firefighters, law enforcement officers, local governments and much more. The 2014 session adjourned without an approved budget as a result of the Medicaid expansion initiative of the Senate.


The Senate improperly included an amendment in their budget proposal to expand the current Medicaid program, putting it at odds with the House budget, and effectively holding the budget hostage. Medicaid expansion should be considered independent of the budget.   Regardless of how you feel on the issue of Medicaid expansion, using Virginia's budget as a bargaining chip is wrong and could have a negative impact on our citizens unless it is decoupled from the budget.

 The Richmond Times-Dispatch says responsibility for the current budget impasse rests with Governor Terry McAuliffe and General Assembly Democrats. The Times Dispatch also urges the Governor and the Senate to consider Medicaid separately from the state budget.

 

For the full editorial, click here.

Medicaid has grown by 1600 percent over the last 30 years and continues to grow at 8 percent per year. While healthcare for the Commonwealth's most vulnerable citizens remains a priority, it is financially and fiscally irresponsible to expand a program that is growing at an unsustainable rate and in need of significant reform.

A Special Session has been called for Monday, March 24th   to consider House Bill 29 and House Bill 30, the Commonwealth's budget bills. As I represent you in Richmond, I will continue to support Medicaid reforms before expansion. I encourage you to contact the Governor directly (804-786-2211) to voice your concerns. Utilizing the Commonwealth's budget as a bargaining chip is unacceptable.

Thank you for visiting my website. Feel free to contact me if I can be of any assistance to you in the future.

                                                     
Sincerely, 

S. Chris Jones  

 

         

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