Go to Content Go to Navigation Go to Navigation Go to Site Search Homepage

After a string of shenanigans to keep Virginians from getting Medicaid, late Monday night Virginia House Speaker William J. Howell pulled another sly move to block affordable health care for 400,000 hard working Virginians.

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe said in a statement

“I am continually surprised and disappointed by the lengths to which Republicans in the House of Delegates will go to prevent their own constituents from getting access to health care."

Instead of putting the veto through the process prescribed by Virginia’s constitution, Howell and other House Republicans “robbed the voters of their voice by using a procedural gimmick to obstruct the normal legislative process,” McAuliffe added.

Howell is one man who will do anything to stand in the way of healthcare for thousands of Virginians. But that doesn’t stop him from reaping the benefits of his own state-funded health insurance.

Hypocrisy in Action

 “Like 103 other legislators, Howell has gold-plated health insurance—supplied by the people of Virginia, more than 1 million of whom go without,” reported the Richmond Times-Dispatch. How nice for Howell.

The 71-year-old Howell recently needed a hip replacement, which can cost between $11,100 and $125,800. Howell did not have a problem using taxpayers’ money for his surgery, and while he recovered, he continued his anti-Obama-anything fight to block Virginians from accessing the same type of coverage.

Howell calls the Medicaid expansion a “brand-new entitlement.” We’re not so sure who is entitled, here. Howell refuses to accept taxpayer-funded health care on behalf of low-income Virginians, but it’s cool for himself. Who’s entitled now?

Let them eat cake…and find their own insurance

Since assuming office in January, McAuliffe has been trying to pass a state budget and safeguard Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, which would be available for over 400,000 eligible Virginians. On June 12 Howell passed a budget that included a provision blocking Medicaid expansion.

Undeterred, McAuliffe took swift action and made a line-item veto of the provision blocking expansion.  But late Monday night, Howell killed McAuliffe’s veto by ruling it—without a vote—as “out of order.”

Howell and his Republican-controlled House are barring access to affordable health care with a procedural action and a thick web of red tape. How dare you, Howell?

“This time, it appears that [Howell] is really drawing the line in the sand around no compromise…It’s a behavior I haven’t seen in the past,” Fred Rankin, chief executive of the nonprofit parent of Mary Washington Hospital, told the Washington Post. Mary Washington is the largest hospital in Howell’s district. In order to keep its free clinic and community health centers open for Fredericksburg’s poor, Mary Washington needs the $14 million per year that it would get under the Medicaid expansion portion of the Affordable Care Act.

Women are Watching

Howell is hell bent on forfeiting Virginians’ health care benefit, but it won’t go by unnoticed.  We are watching, because it’s not just about Virginia. Politicians like Howell are slamming the health care doors on people across the nation who are in need of affordable health care—despite broad support for Medicaid expansion, according to polls conducted in March and in May.

The reason for the support is obvious. Medicaid is the only health care option for some. It provides critical preventive and primary reproductive health care services to low-income women, including birth control. All women and their families should have access to affordable health insurance.

See our map of the 27 states that stand to give millions of Americans coverage under Medicaid expansion:

We don’t know how far Howell will go to keep affordable health care from people who need it, but we are ready for the fight. 

Tags: Obamacare, Medicaid Expansion, Terry McAuliffe, Virginia, Medicaid, Bill Howell

Is Abortion Still Legal in My State?

Learn about abortion access changes in your state.

Get the Facts

Tell Our Courts: Save Mifepristone!

We should be able to trust our courts to respect science and follow the law. It's time for our leaders to hear us, loud and clear: The attack on mifepristone is a gross injustice that could harm millions of people.

Speak Out Now

Planned Parenthood Action Fund Will NEVER Back Down

Know this: our right to abortion is not debatable. We will rebuild and reclaim the freedom that is ours.


Sign Up for Email

Sign Up

Explore more on

Planned Parenthood cares about your data privacy. We and our third-party vendors use cookies and other tools to collect, store, monitor, and analyze information about your interaction with our site to improve performance, analyze your use of our sites and assist in our marketing efforts. You may opt out of the use of these cookies and other tools at any time by visiting Cookie Settings. By clicking “Allow All Cookies” you consent to our collection and use of such data, and our Terms of Use. For more information, see our Privacy Notice.

Cookie Settings

Planned Parenthood cares about your data privacy. We and our third-party vendors, use cookies, pixels, and other tracking technologies to collect, store, monitor, and process certain information about you when you access and use our services, read our emails, or otherwise engage with us. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences, or your device. We use that information to make the site work, analyze performance and traffic on our website, to provide a more personalized web experience, and assist in our marketing efforts. We also share information with our social media, advertising, and analytics partners. You can change your default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our Necessary Cookies as they are deployed to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information, please see our Privacy Notice.



We use online advertising to promote our mission and help constituents find our services. Marketing pixels help us measure the success of our campaigns.



We use qualitative data to learn about your user experience and improve our products and services.