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Lawmakers Seek Public Input in Medicaid Expansion Debate - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Lawmakers Seek Public Input in Medicaid Expansion Debate

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RICHMOND, Va (WVIR) -

If you thought the debate over healthcare expansion ended when the General Assembly adjourned last week, think again. Lawmakers will take it all back up again March 24, and they're using the break to hear from you.

Republicans and Democrats say little has really changed since they left Saturday. They're still miles apart on healthcare expansion and the state budget but they say your voice could help break the stalemate.

A rally, early Wednesday morning outside of Richmond, tells one side of the story.

"Obamacare cost me $10,000. I'm just a small business guy who's got to make a profit. I can't continue to do something that's losing money," said Frank Lundie, president of Lundie Insurance.

Lundie's voice is one of many lawmakers are seeking out as they prepare for contentious, continued budget talks at the state capitol.

House Republicans think expanding health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act is the wrong move. They say Democrats are using the budget as leverage for expansion, and want to consider both issues separately.

"I'm very confident that we're winning this debate," said 66th District Delegate Kirk Cox (R).

Democrats are hearing a different side of things. They think expansion is the right move, and could cover up to 400,000 low-income Virginians without health insurance.

"We need to get back to the people who would be directly affected by our decision," said 71st District Delegate Jennifer McClellan (D).

Democrats think separating the Medicaid and budget debates is a bad idea. Healthcare funding, they say, is a logical part of the budget process. Plus, when they separated a debate over transportation from the budget in 2006, McClellan says, "It was seven years before we got transportation funding, so I'm a little skeptical."

Stuck in stalemate, now lawmakers say it's time for you to speak up.

"When you talk to people, they'll clearly tell you they think it's a broken system," Cox said.

"The only thing that is going to break the gridlock is, who are the loudest voices that we're hearing from?" McClellan said.

State legislators will return to Richmond in about a week and a half to continue those debates. Between now and then, tell them what you think. Find contact information for your lawmaker below:

House:

Dickie Bell, 20th District (Staunton, Waynesboro, Augusta (part), Highland, Nelson (part))
DelDBell@house.virginia.gov, (540) 448-3999

Rob Bell, 58th District (Albemarle(part), Fluvanna (part), Greene, Rockingham (part))
DelRBell@house.state.va.us, 434) 245-8900

Ben Cline, 24th District (Buena Vista, Lexington, Amherst (part), Augusta (part), Bath, Rockbridge)
DelBCline@house.virginia.gov, (434) 946-9908

Matt Farris, 59th District (Albemarle (part), Appomattox, Buckingham, Campbell (part), Nelson (part))
DelMFariss@house.virginia.gov, (434) 821-5929

Steve Landes, 25th District (Albemarle (part), Augusta (part), Rockingham (part))
DelSLandes@house.virginia.gov, (540) 255-5335

Ed Scott, 30th District (Culpeper (part), Madison, Orange)
DelEScott@house.virginia.gov, (540) 825-6400

David Toscano, 57th District (Charlottesville, Albemarle (part))
david@davidtoscano.com, (434) 220-1660

Senate:

Creigh Deeds, 25th District (Albemarle (part), Alleghany, Bath, Buena Vista, Charlottesville, Covington, Highland, Lexington, Nelson, Rockbridge)
district25@senate.virginia.gov, (434) 296-5491

Tom Garrett, 22nd District (Amherst, Appomattox, Buckingham, Cumberland, Fluvanna, Goochland, Louisa (part), Lynchburg (part), Prince Edward)
district22@senate.virginia.gov, (434) 944-7770

Emmett Hanger, 24th District (Augusta, Culpeper (part), Greene, Madison, Rockingham (part), Staunton, Waynesboro)
district24@senate.virginia.gov, (540) 885-6898

Bryce Reeves, 17th District (Albemarle (part), Culpeper (part), Fredericksburg, Louisa (part), Orange, Spotsylvania (part))
district17@senate.virginia.gov, (540) 645-8440

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