Will Virginia Accept Medicaid Expansion?on August 19th, 2013 at 8:28 pm
Today I joined an Americans for Prosperity organized rally in Richmond to voice my opposition to the possibility of Virginia accepting the federal government’s expansion of Medicaid. I would estimate at least 300 people showed up cheering with signs and wearing AFP’s lime green t-shirts. Later in the afternoon the Medicaid Innovation and Reform Committee (MIRC) met to hear testimony from invited experts. MIRC is a 12 person committee created, not only to decide the fate of Medicaid in Virginia, but also to review and possibly reform the way Medicaid works entirely in Virginia. This is the second meeting they have held this year where AFP has been a presence. There were too many AFP folks in attendance to fit into the committee room, so once it was full an “overflow room” was opened where attendees could hear, but not see, the presentations. When that room was full, others waited in the hall for a seat to empty. Being present inside the meeting room was not as necessary as being present inside the building. The Chairman acknowledged in his opening remarks that he knew there were too many people to fit into the committee room, and I suspect he knew who we were with. We were able to stay 2 1/2 hours until the buses had to leave, however the meeting was still going on. Most of the testimony I heard was from Vernon Smith and concerned the fate of Medicaid expansion in other states. Evidently, it is important to the committee to know how everyone else is dealing with this issue because they asked several questions concerning the implementation of the expansion, but it seems that even those states that say they are accepting it, they haven’t decided the details yet either. If you’d like to review the information presented, please visit the MIRC website, http://mirc.virginia.gov/.
At the rally, all of the speakers emphasized the importance of each of us contacting each member of the committee to let them know how we feel about the issue. All of their names are available on the MIRC website. The last agenda item for the committee was to be a discussion on the best way to get citizen input, but since we had to leave I do not know the outcome of that discussion. Suggestions included a web page for comments and a full on open citizen comments meeting. Either way I encourage you to read up on the committee, their mission and the testimony they have heard so far, and call, e-mail or send a letter to them to let them know the seriousness of their decision and how you feel about it.