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VA Consumer Voices
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2013 Priority: Health Care Access and Implementation
Immediately following the issues of poverty and hunger alleviation, access to health care and implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is the most pressing priority for Center members. Expanding and ensuring access to affordable and quality healthcare is a shared responsibility that is grounded in our common humanity. Affirming our commitment to the common good, we have an enduring responsibility to care for one another. Our work on this critical issue has brought Virginia’s faithful voice into the dialogue.
With the newly upheld Affordable Care Act, our health care system is on the verge of significant changes. For the more than 1 million uninsured Virginians, successful implementation of the ACA and the expansion of Medicaid are absolutely critical to their well-being. The Center will continue to educate policy makers and members about the impact of the ACA in Virginia and to advocate for a health care system that not only provides coverage to the most vulnerable families in our communities, but is easy to navigate, affordable, and of high-quality.
Under the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Affordable Care Act states have the option, but are not required, to expand Medicaid coverage to individuals who are under the age of 65 and who earn less than $14,856 annually, at approximately 133% of the Federal Poverty Line. Covering this population is critical, as they do not qualify for Virginia’s current Medicaid program nor do they qualify for the federal tax credits created to ensure that low income families will be able to afford to buy insurance through the exchange. If Virginia does expand Medicaid, more than 400,000 of currently uninsured Virginians would gain coverage. The federal government will cover 100% of the cost of the expansion for the first 3 years, after which Virginia will only have to contribute $1 for every $9 the federal government contributes; making the expansion a sound investment in the health of our neighbors and a boost to our local health economies.
Virginia is in the top 10 nationally in per capita personal income, but ranks 48th in per capita Medicaid spending, at little more than half of the national average. The Center and health care advocates throughout the state will be working not only to expand Medicaid coverage to those who need it most, but will also continue to work to protect Medicaid against increased eligibility requirements that would reduce the ability of vulnerable families to receive services.
Health Benefit Exchange Regulations
The Affordable Care Act mandates that each state create a Health Benefit Exchange, which will serve as a marketplace through which individuals and businesses will be able to shop for and purchase health insurance. The members of Virginia Consumer Voices for Healthcare (VCV), a consumer coalition that promotes accessible, affordable, high quality healthcare for all Virginians, took the lead in advocating for a consumer friendly Health Benefit Exchange in 2012. Though the legislation did not pass, efforts will continue throughout 2013 to create an exchange with sufficient oversight to ensure that it responds to the needs of all Virginians. An ideal exchange would include both consumer and doctor representation on its governing board, and allow community workers in underserved parts of Virginia to serve as Navigators in the new Health Care Marketplace.
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Health Care Reform & Virginia:
Facts About the Affordable Care Act in Virginia
(Virginia Consumer Voices)
An Affordable Care Act Timeline
(Virginia Consumer Voices)
Cuts to Healthcare are bad for Virginia's Economy
(The Commonwealth Institute, January 2012)
The Impact of Health Insurance Reform on Virginia
(The Commonwealth Institute, March 2010)
Health Benefit Exchange
Creating an Effective Health Benefit Exchange: Key Issues for Virginia
(The Commonwealth Institute, January 2011)
What are Health Exchanges?
(The Commonwealth Institute, August 2010)
2012 Medicaid Overview
Saving Money, Saving Lives: Why Virginia Should Expand Medicaid
(The Commonwealth Institute, August 2012)
Making the Right Choice on Medicaid
(The Commonwealth Institute, July 2012)
Medicaid Expansion in Virginia Under the New Health Care Law
(The Commonwealth Institute, July 2010)
Virginia Consumer Voices
Virginia Consumer Voices for Healthcare (VCV) is Virginia’s new, multi-constituency consumer coalition focused on the expansion of health care in the state. The Virginia Interfaith Center is a partner of the Coalition and supports their work advocating for expansion of Medicaid and creating a consumer-friendly health benefits exchange in Virginia.
Copyright 2011 by Virginia Interfaith Center