Legislators Stop at MHS to Talk Medicaid Expansion - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Legislators Stop at MHS to Talk Medicaid Expansion

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Delegate David Toscano and Senator Creigh Deeds stopped in Albemarle County Wednesday night to get a public response to the Medicaid expansion debate. It's the discussion currently keeping Virginia lawmakers from reaching a deal on the budget.

Wednesday night’s town hall meeting filled the room at Monticello High School. Dozens of people shared their opinions on both sides of the issue.

Deeds and Toscano offered their opinion in support of Medicaid expansion at the meeting, citing benefits that extend beyond the legislation.

"What's at stake isn't necessarily Medicaid expansion. What's at stake is whether we're going to get some of our money back, whether we're going to put it to work in Virginia, and whether we're going to provide coverage to people who are uninsured right now,” Deeds said.

Deeds also says the expansion will include increased treatment of mental illness, something that hits close to home for him.

"Medicaid expansion means over $200 million a year in mental health care for Virginians, because part of the problem right now is we don't have equity between those who need mental health care and those who need physical health care,” he said.

But with the budget still hanging undecided, some people feel the legislators should be back in Richmond.

"When you have a major item, what you do is you finish the session, you do your budget and then you go into special session. So my question is: why are the Democrats here?" said Steven Peters, first vice chairman of the Albemarle County Republican Committee.

But Toscano says this type of feedback is necessary for responsible decision-making as a legislator.

"What we're trying to do is educate people on the choices that they have and hear from them about the concerns that they're experiencing,” Toscano said.

Legislators will be back in office starting next week to continue finalizing the state budget.

The deadline for that comes this June.

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