‘Please do not give up’

On Monday, April 4, we sent the following letter to Governor McAuliffe to let him know that we aren’t giving up the fight, and we hope that he won’t either.

April 4, 2016

Dear Governor McAuliffe:

The Healthcare for All Virginians (HAV) coalition is extremely grateful for your unwavering efforts to close Virginia’s Medicaid coverage gap for up to 400,000 very low-income adults. The 100+ organizations which make up the HAV Coalition agree this coverage is absolutely critical to ensure access to necessary health care as well as bolster Virginia’s health care industry and the economy. Opponents of expansion have totally failed to justify their opposition with facts and figures – it’s truly been political gridlock and nothing more.

We share your frustration about the lack of progress on this issue during the last four legislative sessions. We also have very deep concerns about the individuals who must continue to suffer in the coverage gap. For some, the lack of coverage is truly life threatening. We featured a few of the affected people in our booklet Faces of Virginia’s Coverage Gap to explain to legislators and the public how people end up in the gap for various reasons.

Please do not give up on them and the hundreds of thousands of other Virginians who are depending on your leadership and ability to get the job done!

We urge you to continue your fight to do what is right for poor adults in Virginia. In addition to helping hardworking families, closing the gap will address many related needs of people with mental illness, substance use disorders, and those leaving incarceration. We believe the business community, local governments, and educators have an important stake in this debate, and they should be promoting expansion, too.

The HAV Coalition is firmly committed to making broader Medicaid coverage a reality. We will continue to work with your administration and advocate for expansion as long as it’s necessary.

Thank you for your steadfast support.


Jill Hanken
Coordinator, HAV Coalition
Health Attorney, Virginia Poverty Law Center

Click here for a pdf of this letter.

‘You can and must do better.’

On Monday, March 7, we delivered the following letter to all members of the General Assembly:

To Members of the Virginia General Assembly:

This session marks the 4th year that you have refused to meet the health care needs of up to 400,000 low income Virginians. During that time you have also forfeited over $3.5 billion available for Virginia to provide real health insurance for your constituents.

The 100+ organizations in the Healthcare for All Virginians (HAV) coalition adamantly believe Virginia should join 31 other states and D.C. to close its coverage gap. We have provided you with information about the benefits, costs, and savings related to this coverage. We have shared with you actual stories of people in the gap who are suffering because they can’t get the health care they need.

These are people who need your help to be healthy and productive. Many of them face enormous obstacles. Their health care needs are often urgent. The financial consequences of not having coverage are also devastating for many.

The large majority of uninsured individuals are in working families, with many of them contributing to the most important sectors of Virginia’s economy. A healthy workforce is essential to Virginia’s future.

Your continued inaction means Virginia – among the wealthiest of states – will continue to have a huge population of uninsured citizens, at a time when our neighboring states are seeing historic gains in coverage. This is unacceptable.

“Access to care” has been cited as a desired goal in many of your discussions this year about mental health, substance abuse, and COPN. We are confident there are ways for you to address all these issues in a comprehensive manner. There are efficient and cost-effective strategies to make a real difference in the lives of your constituents who are low income and uninsured.

The HAV Coalition urges you to put politics aside and do what’s best for the hundreds of thousands of low income adults in Virginia who need health insurance. If you do that, we firmly believe there is a way to develop a unique Virginia solution to address this problem.

You can and must do better. This issue is not going away, until – together – we find a Virginia solution that provides healthcare to ALL Virginians.

Click here for a pdf of this letter.

New Story Book Shows Faces of Virginia’s Coverage Gap

Click to download a PDF of the story book.

One of the most hotly debated issues in health care for several years has been Virginia’s refusal to expand its Medicaid program, which would allow more working families to have access to health care. As a result of this inaction, hundreds of thousands of low-income adults fall into a coverage gap. With income below the poverty line, they are too poor to qualify for subsidized insurance from the federal Marketplace, but they make too much money to qualify for Virginia’s current Medicaid program.

If Virginia lawmakers close this coverage gap, nearly 400,000 Virginians across the Commonwealth could get access to quality, affordable health insurance.

These are real people. With real lives. They live in every community across the state. And each person in the coverage gap has a story to tell.

Click here to read six of them.

What’s It Going to Take?

From the Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis:

Last week, Louisiana’s new governor signed an executive order to close the coverage gap for the 292,000 low-income residents of his state who have waited two years for their state to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

With this action by Gov. John Bel Edwards, Louisiana joins 30 states and the District of Columbia – including 10 with Republican governors – in the common-sense decision to close the coverage gap.

By closing the gap, these states are seeing historic gains in coverage and will continue to reap the benefits as their residents get the health care they need to work, take care of their children, and be productive members of their communities without having to worry about an illness bankrupting them.

Meanwhile, in Virginia, 400,000 people across the state are still waiting.

Lawmakers again have the opportunity to close the coverage gap and have the federal government pay 100 percent of the cost through the end of this year.

They have, again, the opportunity to help those in their communities who often have to choose between life-saving medical treatments and bankruptcy.

They have, again, the opportunity to help people who work in some of the most important sectors of Virginia’s economy, including tourism, retail, and construction, but who don’t have and can’t afford health insurance.

They have, again, the opportunity to save millions of taxpayer dollars by using federal money to pay for health care services the state currently covers.

With a growing number of states having closed their coverage gaps, a fresh proposal in front of them this legislative session, and mounting evidence that it not only increases the number of people with insurance, but also saves money, lawmakers are out of excuses.

– See more at: http://thehalfsheet.org/#sthash.lmvtl4Je.dpuf

HAV Advocacy Day – January 27, 2016

Make your voice heard this General Assembly session! 

The Healthcare for All Virginians Coalition’s Legislative Advocacy Day is on Wednesday, January 27 from 8:15 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. No previous advocacy experience needed. Your personal perspective and passion about providing quality, affordable health care for all Virginians and closing the coverage gap are all you need to help make a difference.