Real Death Panels: Virginia Republicans and Their Monomaniacal Quest to Deny Medicaid




How far would you go to deny 300,000 citizens access for affordable health care?


For Virginia Republicans, the answer is simple: As far as you need to go.


The Republican Party in Virginia is a microcosm of the party as a whole.  Much like the congressional delegation of Republicans who have voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act 54 times, Republicans at the state level in Virginia have been doing everything possible to ensure that Democratic governor Terry McAuliffe is not allowed to expand Medicaid to nearly 300,000 of his state’s poorest residents.  McAuliffe ran on a platform of Medicaid expansion and ever since he took over the governorship in January of 2014; he has made it no secret that it is one of his top priorities as governor.


However, Virginia Republicans have conscientiously chosen to go to great lengths to ensure that their fellow Virginians are not receiving the improved health care that was made available through the Affordable Care Act.  The reasons for this are simple:  If a Democratic president, a Democratic governor, and a Democratically-controlled state senate approve and enact the Medicaid expansion, the state of Virginia is no longer a toss-up state.  Instead, it moves into the solid blue category for the foreseeable future.  Instead of working with Virginia Democrats to find ways to improve the lives of the state’s most vulnerable citizens, Virginia Republicans have instead opted to lie, cheat, and steal to ensure that nobody in the state has access to the improved access to health care.
This is nothing new.  Already, we have seen the Virginia Republican Party bribe a state senator by offering him a cushy job for himself as well as giving his daughter a foot up in her efforts to attain a state judgeship.  By doing this, Republicans shifted the balance of power in the state government and gave themselves the ability to block the Medicaid expansion, which the entire Republican Party of Virginia has vowed to do.  However, Governor McAuliffe has been unswayed by these Republican shenanigans and has even begun exploring executive options as a way to circumvent Republican obstruction.  In an effort to prevent this apt and just use of power, Republicans, led by House Speaker William J. Howell, have included two amendments in the recently proposed state budget that would limit McAuliffe’s authority to expand Medicaid unilaterally.  McAuliffe has publicly stated that he will veto any state budget that includes those amendments.


And yet, Republicans refuse to allow McAuliffe this political victory, even if it means playing by a whole new set of rules.


In an article that came out this week by the Richmond Times-Dispatch, it was revealed that Speaker Howell had enlisted the help of two members of the Capitol Police to drop off the proposed state budget to McAuliffe’s offices on Sunday, June 15th when the office was closed and locked.  These two members entered the governor’s unoccupied, secure suite of offices  deposited the budget before leaving the suite.  This was done as an attempt to give Governor McAuliffe less time to review the budget as according to Virginia law; the governor must act on a budget within seven days once it has been given to him or her by the clerk’s office.  By presenting the budget on not only Sunday but Father’s Day as well, Howell and his Republican cohorts hoped to deny McAuliffe valuable time he could use to analyze the budget, especially the two proposed amendments he had already threatened to veto.


On June 18th, McAuliffe’s chief of staff Paul Reagan issued a seething letter to Col. Anthony Pike, chief of Capitol Police as well as other prominent state Republicans.  The letter read:


“This letter is to inform you that under no circumstances are you or any of your officers authorized to allow employees of the General Assembly to enter the secure areas of the governor’s office without my express permission, or the express permission of Suzette Denslow, the governor’s deputy chief of staff.

What occurred here Sunday is unacceptable.  Two employees of the speaker of the House of Delegates were given access to an area of the governor’s office where sensitive files and materials are kept.

For good reason, it is an area that is surrounded by three security perimeters. Even on a normal business day, very few people — including members of the governor’s Cabinet — can gain access to this suite of offices. We certainly do not expect to have agents and employees of the General Assembly roaming through these offices on weekends.”

No charges have been filed as of Friday evening and, of course, Howell insists he did nothing wrong in the matter and that the only reason the budget was dropped off when it was was because it just happened to be “completed earlier than expected.”  However, nobody outside of Howell’s office believes this explanation.  For Virginia Republicans, it is another pitiful example of the lengths they will go to to deny the Medicaid expansion.  Governor McAuliffe has continued to fight for the health and well-being of his state’s citizens while state Republicans have shown their true colors by playing petty politics with people’s lives.  It is a sad and disgusting display, but it comes as no surprise as to what the Republican Party is in the year 2014.  The party has become one so vindictive that they will go to any length to ensure that Democrats don’t win elections, even if those lengths include the pain, suffering, and ultimate death of fellow American citizens.

Sarah Palin was right.  There are death panels associated with the Affordable Care Act.  And these death panels are administered by state Republicans who would rather make a political statement than keep their state’s citizens alive and healthy.



6 Replies to “Real Death Panels: Virginia Republicans and Their Monomaniacal Quest to Deny Medicaid”

  1. if this were not such a serious issue, I would find this amusing. the republicans are as amoral as you can get.

    they are denying health insurance to indviduals because of their hatred of having a black president.

    they do not seem to realize that if these people are registered to vote, or do register to vote, more than likely they will vote for a democrat.

    they are not thinking clearly. the gop need every vote they can muster, yet they do not seem to realize this. Their bigotry keeps the RW from rational thinking.

  2. Make them all pay in November
    Rep. Edward “Scott” Rigell [R] VA 2 Voted 54 times to repeal the ACA. Voted yes for H Amdt 448 Requires Congressional Approval Prior to Establishing a Tax on Carbon Emissions

    Voted against raising the minimum wage
    Congressman Scott Rigell Tells Radio Audience He’s for Raising Minimum Wage But Voted Against It

    The President won this district in 2012 all we have to do is remind the voters all arethe same

  3. To ignore peoples health care is ignorance. To go to such great lengths to actively obstruct peoples access to health care is despicable and should be criminal. Do these people think that voters are going to sit by and allow them to continue to jeep up this charade? Looks like we will have another check mark in the win column in November.

  4. Where are the people of Virginia in all this? Terry McAuliffe is putting a lot on the line for them. I’m not seeing any outrage toward the Republican pols who are breaking into offices watergate style to deny them healthcare. Why aren’t the citizens protesting like Moral Monday. Do something to show support if you want healthcare & the federal money that will go to another state if VA refuses it. Is it true some poor but white districts hate Obama so much they’d rather do without medicaid than support “Obamacare”? Voting against their self-interest again. They don’t quite get that Republicans have nothing but contempt for them. Yes, the gop hate poor Republicans too.

  5. “they do not seem to realize that if these people are registered to vote, or do register to vote, more than likely they will vote for a democrat.”
    I think they do realize that those votes would likely go to Democrats. Their plan is to suppress those votes and make sure those voters are not heard.

  6. While Republicans engage in shenanigans at the state level and ruin people’s lives, there are those who are quick to blame the president for their plight. The GOP presence in offices at the state and local levels, not to mention the federal level, has been destructive. This destructiveness should have awakened more people to the fact that state and local politicians have a much more direct and everyday impact on their lives. I only hope that enough of the good people of Virginia vote to get these miscreants out of their government.

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