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

Virginia is for lovers. Lovers of quid pro quo. As the state anticipates the trial of their former governor Bob McDonnell for accepting gifts from businessman Jonnie Williams and the fallout from House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s loss last week continues—a disgusting story about state lawmaker shenanigans has slipped under the radar. And yes, it’s about denying health care to 400,000 Virginians that wouldn’t cost the state a dime for nearly three years.

Here’s the story: Democratic Senator Phillip P. Puckett resigned from his seat, and was reportedly about to be offered a new job as deputy director of the state tobacco commission. “The commission is a 31-member body made up of legislative and gubernatorial appointees; its chairman and vice chairman are Republicans,” according to the Washington Post.

In response to the uproar this caused, he later withdrew his name from consideration for the job. Puckett’s resignation also cleared the way for his daughter to be nominated for a judgeship (the state senate won’t nominate family members of any sitting legislator). Normally this wouldn’t be notable, but in this case there is something bigger at stake. With Senator Puckett resigning, majority control of the Virginia State Senate went to state Republicans that have been trying to thwart Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s efforts to expand Medicaid in the state.

The new Republican, anti-expansion majority promptly joined the already anti-expansion House of Delegates and swiftly passed a budget excluding any provision to expand Medicaid. And they also tried to tie the hands of Governor Terry McAuliffe, explicitly denying him the ability to unilaterally include it. While the politics continue at the state capitol building, 400,000 of the people they pledged to serve are without affordable health care coverage.

This is everything ugly about politics: backroom dealings and greedy politicians attempting to line their own pockets while 400,000 Virginians go without health care that wouldn’t cost the state a dime.

It’s hard to say where the story will end up.  But it’s clear that the opponents of providing health care coverage in Virginia, which was the first state to sue the federal government over the Affordable Care Act (a mere six minutes after the law was signed in 2010), will do anything to keep denying health care to the people who need it most.  

Maybe this is why people hate politics.

Tags: Obamacare, State Fights, Medicaid Expansion, Terry McAuliffe, Virginia, Medicaid

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

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.