Tonight there will be two more forums on Medicaid expansion, in the Richmond Metro area and the Tidewater area, plus another on Monday night in Fredericksburg. These town hall-style meetings are designed to offer information to the public on the benefits of expanded healthcare access. They’re also designed to keep the issues on the “front burner” as the General Assembly prepares to gather next week to work on the state budget, where this issue will finally be decided.
VICPP, AARP Virginia and Healthcare for All Virginia (HAV) Coalition (and the Legislative Collaborative Table and Interspiritual Empowerment Project in VA Beach, Richmond Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated in Richmond and Virginia Organizing in Fredericksburg) are sponsoring these events, where a panel – including legislators, healthcare policy experts and representatives of the healthcare industry – will talk about how Medicaid expansion will impact the state and our local communities. Here are the logistical and program details:
Moderated by: Dr. Quentin Kidd, Director – Judy Ford Wason Center, Christopher Newport University; Panel: Delegate Glenn Davis (R-Virginia Beach), Delegate Kelly Convirs-Fowler (D-Chesapeake and Virginia Beach), Dr. Daniel Carey, state Secretary of Health and Human Resources and Mr Thom Prevette, Bon Secours.
The conversation will be co-moderated by Jim Dau, State Director of AARP Virginia and Rev. Jeanne Pupke, Pastor, First Unitarian Universalist Church; Panel: Delegate Christopher Peace (R-Mechanicsville), Delegate Dawn Adams (D-Chesterfield, Henrico, Richmond), Jill Hanken – Virginia Poverty Law Center, Dr. Kelly Stuart, Mission Leader, St. Francis Medical Center
Monday, April 9, starting at 7 p.m. at the Central Rappahannock Regional Library Theater 1201 Caroline Street, Fredericksburg, 22401
The moderator will be Professor Stephen Farnsworth, director of the Center for Leadership and Media Studies at the University of Mary Washington; Panel: Delegate Bob Thomas (R) (28th District), Delegate Jennifer Carroll Foy (D) (2nd District), Jill Hanken, Virginia Poverty Law Center, Dr. Patrick Neustatter, Medical Director, Lloyd Moss Free Clinic, Melissa Walker, Affordable Care Act Health Insurance Navigator with Enroll Virginia Fredericksburg office
Thursday, April 19, 7 p.m. at the Bedford Public Library, 321 N Bridge St., Bedford, 24523
We’ve worked to get both Republican and Democratic legislators along with quality experts in the healthcare field to discuss this issue. It’s one more strategy to help the General Assembly – in particular the Senate, which has so far rejected Medicaid expansion – understand that this is the single best way to help the poor people in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Your help, in communicating with those Senators to keep the pressure on as we near the crucial moment of decision, remains critical. Thank you for those efforts and support.
With peace and justice,
Executive Director, Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy
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RALLY ON SATURDAY WILL PROTEST ICE COOPERATION IN CULPEPER
Culpeper County Sheriff Scott Jenkins applied for the 287(g) program through the office of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The program allows deputies working in the jail to act as ICE agents. The partnership was approved in January by the federal Department of Homeland Security but has not been implemented yet. VICPP is one of the sponsors of a rally against the Culpeper 287(g) order on Saturday at Yowell Meadow Park Pavillion A, starting at 2 p.m. The park is located at the intersection of Blue Ridge Avenue and Route 522 North. The event organizer is the Legal Aid Justice Center, with the Virginia Coalition of Latino Organizations, Virginia Organizing, and VICPP as supporting sponsors. We urge all people of faith to participate in the rally to raise awareness. There is also a pro-287(g) rally scheduled for the same day and time being sponsored by the Culpeper County Republican Committee. For more information, contact Sophia Gregg at firstname.lastname@example.org or (703) 778-3450.
VICPP PRAISES HERRING FOR JOINING IN SUIT AGAINST CENSUS CHANGE
The Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy is commending Virginia’s Attorney General Mark Herring for joining 16 other state attorneys general in filing suit Tuesday against the Trump Administration to block a specific change in language of the 2020 federal census. The Trump Administration wants to ask respondents whether or not they are U.S. citizens, an idea that would discourage participation by noncitizens and their relatives. The Enumeration Clause in the Constitution requires an accurate count of all of the nation’s residents.The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court by attorneys general of New York, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia; plus the cities of New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia, Providence, San Francisco, and Seattle and the bipartisan U.S. Conference of Mayors. “Richmond in particular is already one of the most undercounted regions in the country,” said Lana Heath de Martinez, the Virginia Interfaith Center’s Welcoming All coordinator. “This would only further prevent immigrants living in central Virginia from participating in the census regardless of their immigration status.” Demanding citizenship information would particularly depress Census turnout in states with large immigrant populations, directly threatening those states’ fair representation in Congress and the Electoral College, as well as billions of dollars in critical federal funds for education, infrastructure, Medicaid, Child Care Development grants and much more. “This poison pill from the Trump administration is about ideology, not accuracy,” said Herring.
POST-SESSION BRIEFINGS OFFERED BY VICPP STAFF
VICPP staff members are happy to lead a “post-session roundup” in your congregation or community to discuss outcomes of the recently ended General Assembly. The following upcoming sessions are scheduled:
- April 25 – Winchester, noon, hosted by the Valley Interfaith Council
- April 25 – Burke, 7-8:30 p.m., Accotink Unitarian Universalist Church, 10125 Lakehaven Ct., Burke, 22015
- May 2 – Northern Virginia, 8 a.m. Location TBA
- May 3 – Virginia Beach, 7-8:30 p.m., Location TBA
- June 7 – Harrisonburg, noon, the Neilson Room at Muhlenberg Lutheran Church, hosted by the Interfaith Association Harrisonburg-Rockingham
- June 18 – Lewinsville Faith in Action, 7:30-9 p.m.
If you would like one of us to come and speak, contact Kim@virginiainterfaithcenter.org and suggest possible dates. We are planning post-session trips to all parts of the state, so let us know how we can connect with you.
SEMINARY COURSE ON PUBLIC WITNESS AND ADVOCACY TO BE OFFERED
Kim Bobo, VICPP’s Executive Director, and the Rev. Dr. David Gortner, Associate Dean of Church and Community Engagement and Professor of Evangelism and Congregational Leadership at Virginia Theological Seminary, will teach a four-week course in how congregations can form coalitions to make their voices heard on local issues that matter to them as communities of faith. “Strengthening Your Congregation’s Public Witness and Advocacy” is designed to engage and prepare congregational cohorts for local action; group registrations encouraged. This is a four-week course being offered consecutive Tuesday evenings beginning April 10 from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Topics will be:
· April 10: “Introductions and Grounding in Faith”
- April 17: “Understanding Virginia Policy Advocacy”
- April 24: “Developing a Strategy for Public Witness and Advocacy”
- May 1: “Integrating Advocacy and Public Witness”
Registration for Congregation Teams of three persons or more is $33 each (must register together); for individuals the cost is $40. Register here.
The series is on-campus at Virginia Theological Seminary, 3737 Seminary Rd., Alexandria, 22304. For directions, go to www.vts.edu/directions. For more information, contact the Lifetime Theological Education office at email@example.com or 703-461-1753.
SAVE THE DATE: VICPP’S ANNUAL CELEBRATION SET FOR SEPT. 26
Please hold Sept. 26 for VICPP’s Annual Celebration and awards event. This once-a-year fundraising event is a great evening with friends that honors justice leaders and raises funds for VICPP. Past events have been in December. This year’s event will be at the Hippodrome Theater, a great art-deco building in Richmond’s Jackson Ward. Sponsorship and registration information will be coming soon in future Roundups.
IS YOUR CONGREGATION A VICPP PARTNER?
VICPP is continuing to grow and expand its network of congregations that work together on faith-based advocacy for justice. We encourage you to become a Congregational Partner and support the Center in various ways. Learn more by visiting our website.
MAY 7 IS PAINT NIGHT FUNDRAISER FOR CENTRAL VIRGINIA SANCTUARY NETWORK
Paint Night to benefit the Central Virginia Sanctuary Network Fund, which provides financial assistance to people facing detention or deportation who need help covering legal fees, will be Monday, May 7, at Mama J’s Kitchen, 415 N, 1st St, Richmond, 23219. The event will start at 6:30 p.m. The cost is $45 per person; Tickets can be purchased at: www.paintnite.com/events/quarter-bloom-at-mama-js-kitchen-10067112.The Fund helps immigrants in the area with a variety of supports. Most of our financial support provides financial assistance to individuals facing detention or deportation who need help covering legal representation fees and legal filing fees. This event is for individuals 21 years and older – be sure to bring your ID. All painting materials are included. Drinks and food will be available for purchase. It will be a fun night of art, food, and activism. Just in time for Mother’s Day: Bring your mom or paint a masterpiece to give her. If you can’t attend, but still want to donate, you can help by making a check to the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy (VICPP) and writing “Sanctuary Fund” in the memo line and sending it to 1716 E Franklin St, Richmond, VA 23223. For additional information, contact Luisi at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CHARLOTTESVILLE-AREA CHAPTER TO MEET MONDAY
VICPP’s Charlottesville-Albemarle Chapter will meet on Monday at 10 a.m. at Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church (1901 Thomson Rd, Charlottesville, VA 22903). Starting this month, the group will meet twice a month. The first meeting of each month will take place on the second Monday of each month at 10 a.m. and the second meeting of each month will take place on the fourth Thursday at 6:30 p.m. (next is April 26). Chapter leadership has recently obtained data about the working poor in our area from UVA’s Weldon Cooper Center and will be examining this data to see what direction in points us regarding living wage. For more information, contact Kim Crater at email@example.com or (434) 906-3640.
VIRGINIA INTERFAITH POWER AND LIGHT PLANS EVENTS IN APRIL
Virginia Interfaith Power and Light (VAIPL) is marking the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. today by delivering a sign-on letter to Gov. Ralph Northam from dozens of lay leaders and clergy raising urgent environmental justice concerns felt by communities around two fracked-gas pipelines. Celebrations, sermons, service projects, events, and nature walks will be held, during “Faith Climate Action Week” April 14-22. Click here for information about how your community can engage with a whole week of Creation celebration and carbon-cutting activities. There will be a Faith Leaders’ Listening Session on Climate Change on Tuesday, April 17, from 9-10:30 a.m. at City Space, 100 5th St NE, Charlottesville, 22902; RSVP to Rosina Snow at firstname.lastname@example.org..
HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL SERVICE IS THIS SUNDAY IN FAIRFAX
The Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington is sponsoring a series of events to remember the Holocaust. The Virginia event will be Sunday from 4:30-8:30 p.m. at Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia, 8900 Little River Turnpike in Fairfax. The schedule will include a program on hate speech for teens, and a memorial service honoring victims, survivors and heroes of the Holocaust. There will be a reading of names, part of a worldwide program coordinated by B’nai B’rith International. There will also be art and artifacts on display, and light Kosher refreshments will be served. For more information, follow this link.
AUTHOR ALICE WALKER TO SPEAK IN RICHMOND THURSDAY
Alice Walker, author of The Color Purple, will keynote a conference in Richmond this week. Walker will speak at Saint Paul’s Baptist Church’s Creighton Campus (4247 Creighton Rd., Richmond, 23223) on Thursday at 7 p.m. The event is sponsored by the Center for Womanist Leadership at Union Presbyterian Seminary. The other parts of the conference will be held at the Hilton Richmond Downtown; Walker’s keynote is free, but registration is required. For more information, visit the Center for Womanist Leadership website.
HEALTHCARE ACCESS NEWS
Former Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling Op-Ed: ‘It’s time to close the healthcare gap in Virginia’
“Today in Virginia, thousands of people working hard to make a better life for their families face a barrier to getting quality care because they don’t have health insurance. Make no mistake, this is a quality-of-life issue. It is an economic issue. When people are healthy they are productive and can contribute to society. When they are ill or injured, but unable to get treatment in the proper setting, their struggles can affect us all. The cost of delaying necessary care and ending up in the hospital emergency room burdens the health-care system, the insurance sector, taxpayers, government, and businesses. For businesses and workers this means higher insurance costs. For hospitals, it means uncompensated care. This is why many chambers of commerce, local governments, organizations, and stakeholders support finding a compromise plan to help as many as 300,000 low-income uninsured Virginians get health coverage.
“Del. Chris Stolle of Virginia Beach is among House Republicans who back expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. And those Republicans are being pressured by conservatives to change their position. In the Richmond area, Stolle’s sister, state Sen. Siobhan Dunnavant, R-Henrico, is also facing pressure. But it’s a different kind. Dunnavant is among the 21-member Senate Republican Caucus holding firm against Medicaid expansion. And that’s leading to pressure from Democrats on her and other Republican senators to change their positions. The distinct pressures on the Republican legislative siblings illustrate the division within the state GOP over the issue. While a significant number of Republicans in the House agreed — after their caucus nearly lost its majority in the November election — to support Gov. Northam’s call for expansion, the Senate has refused. And now, political pressure is being exerted from all sides ahead of the legislature’s return to session on April 11 to finish work on the budget.”
The Republican Medicaid Conundrum
The Roanoke Times
“For years, General Assembly Republicans have been digging themselves into a political hole by opposing the expansion of government-funded health care coverage, even as surveys showed Virginians supported expanded health coverage. Some Republicans want to keep digging…at least for the time being. Being the ‘Party of No’ is risky. Gerrymandered districts have protected GOP lawmakers thus far, but those same hyper-partisan districts now could put some Republicans at risk. Gov. Ralph Northam has called lawmakers back to Richmond April 11 to finish work on a new state budget, a job they could not complete on time during their 60-day General Assembly session. Majority Republicans in the House of Delegates and majority Republicans in the State Senate could not agree on a new spending plan.”
Medicaid Expansion Costs Proving To Be Negligible For States
The Winston-Salem Journal
“North Carolina and the other 17 states that have not expanded their Medicaid program are running out of excuses from an analytical standpoint, according to a leading health-care law expert. Mark Hall, a law and public health professor at Wake Forest University, released a study titled ‘Do states regret expanding Medicaid?’ Medicaid enrollment in N.C. has climbed from 1.75 million in July 2014 to a projected 2.14 million on June 30 — representing about 21 percent of the state population — according to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services. Another 500,000 North Carolinians could become eligible with Medicaid expansion.”
Obamacare Users See System Collapsing — But Say It’s Still Working For Them Now
“A majority of people who rely on Obamacare insurance agree with Republican critics that the health insurance markets created by the Affordable Care Act are collapsing, according to a new poll. But most of those surveyed also said their premiums are either lower this year than they were last year, or about the same, and they’re likely to continue buying insurance even though Congress has eliminated the ACA’s penalty for going without coverage. The poll, conducted by the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation, also found that Obamacare enrollees are not interested in switching to the skimpier, short-term plans, touted by the Trump administration, which have fewer benefits and lower premiums. Liz Hamel, director of public opinion and survey research for the Kaiser Family Foundation, said the poll results highlight the contradiction between political rhetoric and reality. ’When the president is saying things like, `The ACA is failing. Things are collapsing,’ people hear that,’ Hamel said. ’So they may be answering that question not necessarily based on their own experience this year.’”
WELCOMING ALL NEWS
“Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring announced Tuesday the Commonwealth of Virginia will intervene and join a lawsuit against President Trump and members of his administration for his recent immigration Executive Order. The order bans visa and green card holders from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States for the next 90 days. “This order is unlawful, unconstitutional, and un-American, and action is required,” Herring said. Herring said that the Commonwealth will defend the rights of its residents and its own sovereign rights by joining the pending case Aziz v. Trump in the Eastern District of Virginia.”
The Washington Post
“President Trump’s sharp shift in tone on immigration from would-be dealmaker back to the hard-line stance he campaigned on comes amid signs that some of his conservative base is growing impatient for him to fulfill promises on the border wall and other measures to crack down on illegal immigration. Over the past two days, Trump has issued declarations on Twitter that shut the door on a legislative deal to protect young undocumented immigrants from deportation, blamed Democrats for the failure, demanded the Mexican government take stronger action to close the border, and conflated a refugee crisis from Central America with the Obama-era deferred-action program that Trump ended in the fall.”
WAGE JUSTICE NEWS
“Back in 2015, McDonald’s announced that it was instituting a wage floor — whatever the local minimum wage was, workers at company-owned U.S. locations would earn at least $1 more. This was surprising news, as McDonald’s doesn’t really have a history of doing raises. It turned out that the hourly rate hike only affected a small percentage of employees (company-owned locations are only about 10 percent of stores), but the pledge was nonetheless mildly heartening to workers and labor activists, who’d already been protesting the chain’s low pay for more than a year.”
PREDATORY LENDING NEWS
“The head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau asked Congress on Monday to trim the agency’s power to write rules and spend money. Mick Mulvaney, the head of the CFPB, said the agency has the kind of power that should only rest with Congress. “The Bureau is far too powerful, with precious little oversight of its activities,” Mulvaney told Congress. “The power wielded by the director of the Bureau could all too easily be used to harm consumers, destroy businesses, or arbitrarily remake American financial markets.”