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AARP Urges Virginia Budget Conferees to Implement Medicaid Reforms Without Delay

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EXPANSION WOULD PROVIDE COVERAGE TO 62,000 VIRGINIANS AGE 50-64 AND MORE THAN 33,000 MILITARY VETERANS AND THEIR FAMILIES


RICHMOND _ As Virginia’s House and Senate conference committee begins working out differences between the budgets passed by the two chambers, nearly 400,000 Virginians are waiting for health care coverage.

“On January 1, 2014, millions of uninsured Americans will get health coverage because their state is expanding the Medicaid income guidelines,” said AARP Virginia State Director Bill Kallio.  “The nearly 400,000 hardworking uninsured Virginians shouldn’t have to wait for health care.”

You can tell your legislator to urge the budget conferees to reform Medicaid now.

The Virginia General Assembly’s budget conference committee begins work today ironing out the differences in the budgets passed by the House and Senate.  The Senate adopted budget amendments that will expand Medicaid along with the rest of the nation – on January 1, 2014.  The House’s budget delays expansion.  More than 62,000 people age 50-64 will qualify for the expanded program, as well as more than 33,000 military veterans and their families.

“Uninsured Virginians shouldn’t have to wait while the General Assembly decides how it’s going to reform the Medicaid program,” Kallio said.  “Our lawmakers have the power to grant health insurance to these needy families now.”

The Virginia Senate last week passed a budget amendment that will increase the Medicaid income guidelines to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, or about $26,000 a year for a family of three.  Currently a family of three has to earn less than $6,000 for the adults to qualify for Medicaid, the state health care program for low-income people.  Adults without dependent children currently are not eligible for coverage, but the expansion means they will qualify beginning January 1, 2014.

Kallio encourage the conferees to put partisanship aside to do what’s right for hardworking Virginians who need health care.

“AARP Virginia is pleased with the bipartisan support by state Senators who recognize the value of providing health care to our state’s poorest workers,” Kallio said.  “The conference committee should adopt the Senate version of the budget.”

House of Delegates members on the conference committee are Lacey Putney (Alleghany, Bedford and Botetourt counties, Bedford and Covington), Beverly Sherwood (Frederick and Warren counties, Winchester), Kirk Cox (Chesterfield, Colonial Heights), Steven Landes (Albemarle, Augusta, and Rockingham), Chris Jones (Chesapeake and Suffolk), Johnny Joannou (Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Suffolk).

The following Senators are on the committee:  Charles Colgan (Manassas, Manassas Park, Prince William County), Walter Stosch (Hanover and Henrico), Thomas Norment (Gloucester, Hampton, Isle of Wight, James City, King and Queen, King William, New Kent, Poquoson City, Suffolk, Surry, York), Janet Howell (Arlington, Fairfax), Emmett Hanger (Augusta, Culpeper, Greene, Madison, Rockingham, Staunton, Waynesboro), John Watkins (Chesterfield, Powhatan, Richmond).

To learn more about AARP Virginia, like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/aarpvirginia and follow @AARPVa on Twitter at www.twitter.com/aarpva.

AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, with a membership of more than 37 million, that helps people turn their goals and dreams into real possibilities, strengthens communities and fights for the issues that matter most to families such as health care, employment security and retirement planning.  We advocate for consumers in the marketplace by selecting products and services of high quality and value to carry the AARP name as well as help our members obtain discounts on a wide range of products, travel and services.  A trusted source for lifestyle tips, news and educational information, AARP produces AARP The Magazine, the world's largest circulation magazine; AARP Bulletin; www.aarp.org; AARP TV & Radio; AARP Books; and AARP VIVA, a bilingual news source.  AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to political campaigns or candidates.  The AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors and sponsors.  AARP has staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.  Learn more at www.aarp.org.

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