A town hall discussion on the benefits of Medicaid expansion in the state will be held at 7 p.m. March 21 at the Stryker Center in the Williamsburg City Council Chambers.
The event, being organized by the local chapter of the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy, will feature panelists including Del. Michael P. Mullin (D-Newport News), Del. Glenn R. Davis (R-Virginia Beach) and Virginia Poverty Law Center health expert Jill Hanken.
The town hall follows the Virginia General Assembly’s failure to pass a state budget in this year’s regular session due to a split between the House and the Senate over the inclusion of Medicaid expansion in the budget bill.
Dr. John Whitley, a board member for the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy, says the discussion will show community members that the issue of health-care expansion for low-income populations is an issue that crosses party lines.
“We feel that it is good to help the public see that two delegates in the House of Delegates approve medicaid expansion in their version of the budget,” said Whitley. “Two local delegates, one Republican and the other a Democrat — as well as 19 or 20 other Republicans — are advocates for Medicaid expansion being included in the state budget.”
Rev. Charles Swadley, another board member for VICPP, says that access to Medicaid is important not just to the Williamsburg area, but to the entire state.
“We are at a critical juncture in Virginia on an issue that has often been politicized or mischaracterized,” said Swadley. “We are encouraged to see people adding their voices to the healthcare conversation in order to make more Virginians healthy and strong, which will improve the well-being of the commonwealth.”