Public Budget Hearings 2016





(Hearings begin at 10:00 a.m.)

  • Fredericksburg – University of Mary Washington, University Center, Chandler Ballroom
  • Wytheville – Wytheville Community College, Grayson Hall, Snyder Auditorium


(Hearings begin at 12:00 noon)

  •  Chesapeake – Tidewater Community College, Chesapeake Campus, Student Center Multipurpose Room
  •  Central Virginia – City of Richmond, General Assembly Building, House Room D

The purpose of the hearings is to receive comments on the Governor’s proposed amendments to the 2016-18 biennial state budget.  Those persons wishing to speak may register at each hearing site no earlier than one hour prior to the start of the hearing.

Speakers will be taken in the order of registration.  Each person may register only one speaker at a time.  Speakers are asked to limit their comments to three minutes or less.  Speakers representing groups and organizations should consolidate remarks to reduce duplication.  Persons unable to attend may comment in writing to either:

Delegate S. Chris Jones                               OR                  Senator Charles J. Colgan
P.O. Box 406                                                                        Senator Walter A. Stosch
General Assembly Building                                                  P.O. Box 396
Richmond, Virginia  23218                                                   General Assembly Building
Richmond, Virginia  23218

 Accommodations for individuals with hearing impairment may be made by calling (804) 698-7480 beginning Tuesday, December 1, 2015.  All requests for individuals with hearing impairment must be received by 5:00 p.m., Monday, December 21, 2015.  Interpreters will only be provided at locations per specific requests.


New Poll: Large Majority of Virginia Voters Support Improving the ACA, Closing the Coverage Gap


October 8, 2015

New Poll: Large Majority of Virginia Voters Support Improving the ACA, Closing the Coverage Gap

RICHMOND, Va. — A new survey of likely voters in five states – Florida, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia – shows solid majorities believe the Affordable Care Act is here to stay (64 percent) and that Congress should work to improve the law (71 percent).

Moreover, in all five states, a large majority of voters support closing the health care coverage gap, created when the Supreme Court made expanding Medicaid optional under the ACA. In Virginia, nearly three-quarters of voters (74 percent) said Virginia should accept the federal funding set aside to close the coverage gap, an action that would make health care coverage available for up to 400,000 uninsured Virginians.

“This latest survey confirms what we continue to hear over and over across Virginia,” said Jill Hanken of the Virginia Poverty Law Center. “Voters understand that their fellow hardworking Virginians need the security of health coverage to get care when they need it, without facing huge medical bills or going into bankruptcy.”

A majority of states — 31 including the District of Columbia — have already taken advantage of the opportunity to close their coverage gaps and provide quality, affordable health insurance to their residents.

“We must move forward to lower health care costs for all Virginians,” said Hanken.

The survey was conducted by PerryUndem Research/Communication September 15-19, 2015; 1,005 adults who said they were likely to vote in the 2016 elections and have a history of voting in the 2012 or 2008 elections responded. The margin of error is +/- 3.1 percentage points. The results were released by Community Catalyst and Service Employee International Union (SEIU).

For more information, visit


Media Contacts

Jill Hanken
(804) 402-2460

Patrick Getlein
(804) 396-2051 x103

The Half Sheet: In Rural Areas, Health Care Is at Risk

Hospitals Are Struggling-01

The 400,000 low-income, uninsured Virginians aren’t the only ones struggling to get by because state lawmakers haven’t closed the coverage gap. At least half of rural hospitals, and maybe more than that, were in the red last year, according to the Virginia Hospital and Health Care association and confirmed by PolitiFact Virginia.

With so many hospitals struggling, there are bound to be consequences. And there have been.

Back in 2013, Lee Regional Medical Center closed its doors in part because state lawmakers refused to adapt to the changing health care landscape where more people are supposed to have insurance to pay for the care they receive. The closing of Lee Regional hurt the local community and economy. It wiped out 140 good paying jobs. It also left an entire county without a hospital, drastically increasing the drive time for people needing emergency treatment. And it’s not as if Lee County is an area flush with physicians and alternative health care options: many uninsured folks from out that way rely on a once-a-year clinic that sets up camp at the regional airport and the occasional visit from a retrofitted RV. In fact, Lee is in the same neck of the woods as Grundy, which has the terrible monicker of Sickest Town in America.

While other hospitals have been able to keep their doors open, some have had to cut staff and services. At least 540 more jobs have been lost as hospitals across the state reduced their staffing levels, and that doesn’t include the hundreds of other employees who had their hours or wages cut.

Making matters worse, people who live outside of metropolitan areas in Virginia – like Lee County – are 19 percent more likely to be uninsured than their more urban counterparts. In total, 12.7 percent of people who live in more rural areas are uninsured, compared with just 10.7 percent in metropolitan areas. And when you have lots of people who can’t afford health insurance, you most likely also have lots of people who can’t afford costly, unexpected medical bills.

Struggling rural hospitals would be better off if more of their customers had insurance to help pay for the care they receive. One way to help fix that problem is to close the coverage gap, which could help as many as 400,000 low-income, uninsured Virginians get the care they need and make sure hospitals get paid for the services they provide. Had state lawmakers agreed to help them when they first had the chance in 2014, more than $2.8 billion dollars would have been pumped into our economy, largely through our hospitals.

One thing is for sure — the status quo is not sustainable. Rural hospitals and low-income, uninsured folks who are struggling to make ends meet can’t foot all of the bill. State lawmakers have a way to help, but they have to act.

–Massey Whorley, Senior Policy Analyst