HAV Statement on the Decision Not to Close the Coverage Gap by the House Appropriations and Senate Finance committees

The Healthcare for All Virginians (HAV) Coalition is deeply disappointed in the members of the House Appropriations and Senate Finance committees for their refusal to include the federal funding available to provide health insurance to over 400,000 low income Virginians.

The budgets adopted yesterday leave gaping holes in Virginia’s safety net. While committee members included some funding for health clinics and the seriously mentally ill, that is a piecemeal approach to an enormous problem.

Hundreds of thousands of hardworking people across the Commonwealth will continue to suffer because they don’t have the healthcare they need.

Since January 1, 2014, Virginia has forfeited over $1.7 billion dollars in federal funding that Virginians have already paid in their taxes. That money needs to come back to Virginia to support the uninsured, hospitals, and to help Virginia’s economy. Yesterday’s actions mean Virginia will continue to forfeit over $4 million dollars, every single day. It is irresponsible for the money committees to reject billions of dollars in the face of enormous needs.

Once again, Virginia joins the minority of states that are refusing to accept federal funds to address the needs of the uninsured. Today – 29 states (including the District of Columbia) have already closed their coverage gaps.

It’s a sad day when legislators allow a political agenda to trump the urgent needs of Virginia families. The HAV Coalition will continue to advocate for action until this coverage is a reality for low-income Virginians.