This Letter to the Editor first appeared in the Loudon Times-Mirror on April 12, 2018.
At the heart of the debate in Richmond this week is Medicaid expansion, an initiative that would provide health coverage for 400,000 Virginia families.
Because reproductive health care receives a whopping 75 percent of its public funding from Medicaid, it will be uniquely impacted by the decisions made this special session in Richmond. This funding is absolutely essential for reimbursements for preventive services at Planned Parenthood health centers across Virginia.
Medicaid expansion is extremely popular with Virginia voters: 83 percent are in favor of expanding Medicaid, including a staggering 72 percent of Republicans, according to recent polling sponsored by the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association. Further, by a 2-to-1 margin, voters in competitive Virginia districts are more likely to vote against their legislators if they obstruct Medicaid expansion (Source: Public Policy Polling).
Despite this evidence, conservative state senators continue to dig in their heels to restrict public funding for health care. At the end of the day, this simply should not be a controversial issue. It’s common sense: Medicaid expansion saves Virginia money by increasing federal funding for the commonwealth and helps more people, particularly women of color, gain access to health care.
Here at Planned Parenthood, we base our values on the idea that everyone, regardless of socioeconomic status, where you’re from, or how you identify, deserves the same access to affordable, high quality reproductive health care.
Planned Parenthood will continue to stand with Virginia families and with our partners to expand Medicaid, and we urge lawmakers to do the same.
Dr. Laura Meyers is the CEO & President of Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington, D.C. and Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington, D.C. Action Fund, which serves 16 counties in Northern Virginia. PPMW has been providing high-quality, affordable healthcare to individuals in the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area for more than 80 years.