Don Beyer Calls for Virginia Medicaid Expansion

For Immediate Release

Contact:  Ann O’Hanlon,

March 17, 2014 (Alexandria, Virginia)  – Former Lieutenant Governor Don Beyer, candidate for the Democratic nomination in Virginia’s 8th Congressional district, today called for closing the health care “coverage gap” in Virginia by expanding Medicaid coverage to hundreds of thousands of uninsured Virginians through a federal/state partnership. He pledged that as a member of Congress he would demand that the federal government uphold its end of the bargain, and referenced an earlier cooperative effort – one that brought health care to thousands of Virginia children — as a model for reaching agreement on the current proposal.

Democrats, led by Governor Terry McAuliffe, have urged Republican lawmakers to provide health care coverage for up to 400,000 working Virginians through Medicaid expansion; Republicans in the House of Delegates have refused. The federal government will pay 100 percent of the cost of Medicaid expansion for the first three years of the program, and 90 percent after that.

“I commend Governor McAuliffe and the bipartisan group of legislators who are fighting to close the coverage gap,” Beyer stated. “I know we can find a ‘Virginia Way’ to reach consensus because we’ve done it before. Over a decade ago, the federal government offered health coverage to uninsured kids through the Children’s Health Insurance Program, a federal/state partnership in which Washington would pay two-thirds of the costs. After ideological foot-dragging by the Gilmore administration, Governor Mark Warner stepped forward with the FAMIS program, which has helped thousands of Virginia’s children and become a national model. It’s time for us once again to put politics aside, come to consensus, and close the coverage gap.”