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McDonnell advocacy on Medicaid aid "might be helpful," Warner says

Rosalind Helderman

U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) said Friday afternoon that "it might be helpful" if Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) would publicly lobby on behalf of additional federal funding for Virginia's Medicaid program.

Warner's comment came as a bill that includes the additional Medicaid money--$417 million for Virginia--remains hung up in the U.S. Senate. In a vote Thursday night, the broadbased bill that includes a number of costly items in addition to the Medicaid funding failed to muster enough votes to advance. All of chamber's Republicans voted against it because of the increased federal spending.

"It might be helpful," Warner said of McDonnell lobbying for the aid. "It does remind me...During the session, I was down in Richmond and there were two or three Republican legislators I was having a beer with. And their comment was, 'Well, Governor, we're keep kicking you in the rear end for spending. But keep those checks coming. Because it's the way we're balancing our budget.'"

Senate leaders are still trying find compromise around the bill. McDonnell has previously said he supported the Medicaid money, signing on to a letter with 47 other governors in February urging Congress to approve the Medicaid money. But he has not said whether he supports the Senate bill and said earlier this week that he does not plan to lobby for its passage.

"It's interesting that we only hear from certain governors on this," Warner said.

Warner's comments came following a roundtable for small business owners and community bankers held at a local bank in Richmond. A restaurant owner told Warner his business has survived because his landlord agreed to slash his rent. Still, he's lost his home and now must live in the restaurant.

A coffee shop operator said credit card fees have risen so high that she'll give customers free cups of coffee if they try to pay for them with a credit card. A man who owns a company that makes healthy drinks to be sold in school cafeterias said he is unable to obtain a revolving line of credit from a bank, though his business is growing 350 percent a year.

Warner talked about a program he is trying to steer through Congress that would help banks make loans to small businesses. He also said the Small Business Administration is becoming more responsive and promised to hook the business owners up with contacts in the agency.

By Rosalind Helderman  |  June 18, 2010; 4:30 PM ET
Categories:  Mark Warner , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman  
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I doubt that Gov McDonnell will advocate for increased funding for Medicaid. I'm an ordinary Virginia resident, and my son is a Medicaid consumer due to his severe disabilities, so I feel qualified to advocate on this issue.

Virginia Medicaid cuts have been increasing since the economy went bad. For my son, this means that he is at home all the time, without a day program, without physical or occupational therapy. My son has aged out of legally required services so because so few providers accept Medicaid payment, I am forced to try to find the services he needs on my own and to pay for them myself. You, Senator Warner, may guess how well that works.
Recently I've been informed that additional cuts in Medicaid funding that will take effect July 1 will force my current provider to cut back on the supplies they offer, again forcing me to find and pay for medically needed supplies on my own, at retail prices. I've been doing this to some extent all my son's life, and every year more is required of me, and less is available to my son. Would it hurt so much to restore funding for disabled persons?
Thanks for providing this opportunity.

Posted by: jody43jody | June 19, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

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