Lawmakers won’t be tackling the issue of Medicaid expansion for another two weeks, when the state Senate is to reconvene and negotiate the budget. But activists are trying keeping up the pressure.
State Senator Siobhan Dunnavant is a doctor, and one of the lawmakers opposed to full Medicaid expansion.
Tuesday, outside the hospital where she works, a small group protested. Jen Lawhorne is with Progress Virginia. Lawhorne says the group will continue to target certain lawmakers in the coming weeks, before they’re set to vote on a possible expansion of the state-run health insurance program.
“Health insurance should be available to all people in need of it, healthy and sick people alike,” she says.
In an email, Senator Dunnavant stood by her position on Medicaid, adding quote “there are more appropriate venues for political demonstration than places where patients are seeking care.”
Dunnavant's full statement:
“I am spending today providing healthcare to my patients, as I have for 20 years. I wholeheartedly support the right of everyone to express their political views. Today’s protest could have impacted both patients who are seeking healthcare and staff who are just trying to do their jobs. Virginia’s citizen legislators understand their positions can be polarizing, but there are more appropriate venues for political demonstration than places where patients are seeking care. As for Medicaid expansion, I remain convinced that expanding under the Affordable Care Act is not the best solution, nor is it in the best interest of Virginia's taxpayers – worth noting on the day Virginians pay their state taxes.”