The Dumfries Town Council on Tuesday unanimously approved a resolution calling on the Commonwealth’s General Assembly and Governor to fully accept federal Medicaid funding to provide healthcare coverage for its residents.
The resolution calls on the legislature to expand Medicaid or create its own state plan to take advantage of the federal dollars available. The resolution was introduced by Council member Derrick R. Wood and signed by Gerald M. Foreman, the mayor of Dumfries.
Dumfries is located in Prince William County in northern Virginia, next to Interstate 95. It is estimated that about 11,500 residents of the county lack healthcare insurance.
Medicaid is the federal and state program that offers healthcare coverage for the poor and disabled. The low-income persons who would be covered cannot afford to purchase through the Affordable Care Act’s Exchange Marketplace but don’t qualify for Virginia’s current Medicaid program because of its restrictive eligibility limits.
The resolution also touted the economic benefit of Medicaid expansion, including bringing $6.2 million a day from the federal government into Virginia, bolstering the state’s hospital and healthcare industry and the general economy as well. The Department of Medical Assistance Services estimates that Virginia would see a net savings of $265 million through fiscal years 2022, with the state’s small match being more than offset by savings in healthcare for inmates, mental health, indigent care and other state-funded health services.
Recent health insurance statistics by the U.S. Census Bureau indicate that the rate of uninsured fell last year in 47 states and the District of Columbia, including Virginia. Nationwide, the rate of uninsured dropped from 10.4 percent in 2014 to 9.1 percent. Virginia’s uninsured rate in 2015 matched the national average at 9.1 percent, but decreased at a lower rate than nationally. Virginia is one of 19 states nationally that hasn’t taken the federal dollars to expand coverage for its citizens.
According to Executive Director Kim Bobo, the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy hopes these resolutions being adopted by communities across the Commonwealth can help members of the General Assembly realize the local constituent support that exists to close Virginia’s healthcare coverage gap.
For information on the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy, please visit www.virginiainterfaithcenter.org.