Message from Glen
This week and the next few to come focus on the Commonwealth’s 2018–2020 Biennial Budget. On Thursday, the Senate passed our budget proposal, which makes investments in the core functions of government like K-12 education, pro-growth economic policies, transportation infrastructure, and public safety.
The Senate’s budget is fiscally responsible. It does not raise taxes and does not expand the Medicaid entitlement program under Obamacare.
The House of Delegates’ proposed budget includes Medicaid Expansion and creates a new Healthcare Tax to help pay for it.
Our current Medicaid spending is growing at an unsustainable rate and continues to crowd out other core functions of government. As state government spends more and more on Medicaid, there are fewer and fewer dollars to invest in education, ensure roads get paved, and keep our communities safe—functions of government that are vitally important to all Virginians.
The House’s plan will only make these budgeting challenges worse—and it’s premised on the assumption that the federal government will continue to fund a program that it has already said it plans to defund. In fact, several proposals have been made to significantly reduce the federal government’s contribution to the current Medicaid program in addition to the possible reduction or elimination of federal cost sharing for Expansion.
Affordable private health insurance coverage continues to be at the forefront of my legislative work. My bill to make all Virginians eligible to purchase more affordable, low cost healthcare plans passed with bipartisan support in the Senate and will be considered by the House of Delegates next week. This bill will create a new health insurance coverage option for low and middle class Virginians and their families by providing essential health benefits with lower monthly premiums.
Currently, federal law makes these lower cost plans available only to those under 30 years old. My bill unwinds this burdensome federal regulation to make these more affordable health insurance plans available to all Virginians. For example, the average monthly premium for a 21 year old who has this plan is just $167 per month.
I am also co-sponsoring and supporting legislation that increases insurance choices for individuals and small businesses, expands lower-cost healthcare coverage options in the individual market, and increases the number of waivers for intellectually and developmentally disabled Virginians. These are commonsense solutions focused on lowering the cost of monthly premiums and reducing the cost of healthcare.
The House Budget is substantially different than the Senate’s and we will work hard over the next two weeks to reconcile differences and come to a final budget proposal that does not raise taxes on Virginians and that does not expand Obamacare in Virginia.
We have only two weeks left before adjournment on March 10, and if you’d like to make a trip to the Capitol during this time, our office would be happy to help arrange your visit. Please keep in touch on matters of importance to you and our community by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Students from James River High School joined us this morning in the Senate Chamber!
I enjoyed meeting with representatives and students from the Virginia Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics again this year!
Working with constituent Dave Edmunds, my bill to protect seniors from loss of retirement security through pension de-risking passed in the House Commerce and Labor subcommittee.
Career and Technical Students from Thomas Jefferson High visited the Capitol to learn more about state government and watch the Senate’s floor Session!
I appreciated the opportunity to meet with the American Cancer Society this week.
Michelle Cottrell-Williams was recognized by the Virginia Senate this week for earning the incredible honor of 2018 Virginia Teacher of the Year. As the husband of a school teacher, I greatly appreciate Michelle’s dedication to her students.
In the News
“Former city school board members pitch paid apprenticeships, tax credits in bipartisan bill” – WRIC – ABC 8, 2-22-18
“Editorial: Some good ideas for health care” – Richmond Times-Dispatch, 2-22-18
"Virginia Seeks to Expand Mental Health Services" –WCVE PBS, 2-16-18
“Here's where key legislation stands at the session's midpoint” – Richmond Times-Dispatch, 2-14-18
"Virginia Senate unanimously approves Richmond school facilities bill" - Richmond Times-Dispatch, 2-12-18
"Senate approves bill to give Richmond businesses tax credits for employing city students" - Richmond Times-Dispatch, 2-5-18
"Richmond Public Schools Referendum Advances to Senate Floor" - WCVE PBS, 2-7-18