McAuliffe Continues to Push for Medicaid

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

Gov. Terry McAuliffe, along with Attorney General Mark Herring and Secretary of Health and Human Resources Bill Hazel, visited the Remote Area Medical (RAM) Clinic in Wise County Fairgrounds to volunteer as needed and talk with patients.

RAM is an annual pop-up clinic that serves around 3,000 people over the course of three days with the help of hundreds of volunteer dentists, doctors and other health-care providers. Virginians come to RAM for free health-care services that are not covered by their insurance and cannot afford on their own, according to The Washington Post.

The governor’s visit came as he is trying to determine how he can use his executive authority to expand Medicaid, since the General Assembly recently passed a state budget without any expansion. In addition to helping around the clinic, he spoke with many patients, emphasizing that he was working very hard to expand Medicaid. He also encouraged them to pressure their state delegates to support expansion, according to the Times Dispatch.

“When you talk to these folks and they’ve been here [waiting] for 30 hours to get care one day a year, that is not how you do health care in this country and it’s clearly not how we should be doing it in the commonwealth of Virginia,” said McAuliffe. “We need preventative care, and we need to get folks care before they have problems. What happens today in Virginia is that many of these folks here, their family doctor is the emergency room, and we are paying many, many times more the cost. If we would do the morally, socially, financially right thing, we would not see this RAM facility the way it is here today.”

Many of the patients at RAM would be covered under the expanded Medicaid. On the first day of the three-day clinic, the line was 1,500 people long by 4 a.m. Organizers had to start turning patients away. Hundreds of people come to the clinic to get all of their teeth pulled, since many of them have never had dental care before. While an expanded Medicaid would not fully resolve this issue since it does not cover routine dental care, it would provide emergency tooth extractions so that patients would not have to wait a year to get a tooth pulled.

New Poll Reveals Gov. McAuliffe’s Lukewarm Approval Ratings

A poll released Wednesday by Quinnipiac University shows that voters are optimistic about Gov. McAuliffe’s term by 57 to 32 percent. This information comes only two months after he won office with just under 50% of the vote, reports The Washington Post.

“Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s initial report card from Virginia voters is good, but not great,” says Peter Brown, the assistant director of Quinnipiac University’s Poll.

McAuliffe’s overall approval rating remains lukewarm with 44% of people approving of the job he is doing, 29% disapproving and 27% undecided.

The poll reports that 53% of Virginians feel that he has strong leadership qualities, 44% believe he is honest and trustworthy and 46% feel that McAuliffe cares about their needs and problems.

Quinnipiac administered this poll as McAuliffe engaged in a dispute with House Republicans in regards to expanding Medicaid under the federal Affordable Care Act. The battle has stalled budget negotiations, and with time running out the argument threatens a state government shutdown if not resolved before the start of the new fiscal year on July 1st.

The survey shows that this is not Virginians’ biggest concern. Only 4% of those polled feel that Medicaid should be the government’s top priority, while 19% feel that the focus should be on jobs and unemployment.

Gov. McAuliffe Seeks to Review Abortion Laws

When Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) took office in January one of his promises was to do everything he could to amend the rules recently inflicted upon Virginia abortion clinics. On Monday, McAuliffe began his promised action plan to protect abortion access for women.

The regulations that were imposed on abortion clinics last year were responsible for the closing of five state clinics, leaving Virginia with 18 left. These rules require that all state abortion clinics make health and safety renovations, which include adding parking spaces and widening hallways.

“I am concerned that the extreme and punitive regulations adopted last year jeopardize the ability of most women’s health centers to keep their doors open and place in jeopardy the health and reproductive rights of Virginia women,” McAuliffe said.

McAuliffe has ordered a formal review against the abortion laws to continue his fight for Virginia women.

McAuliffe Announces New Virginia Rail-Safety Task Force

On Friday, Governor McAuliffe announced the creation of a rail-safety task force following the derailment of a CSX train carrying crude oil last Wednesday in Lynchburg, Virginia, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

“What happened here should give us all pause,” McAuliffe said as a small crew nearby performed some cleanup work.

Officials estimate that 20,000 gallons of oil were lost, either in the fire that followed the derailment or the spill into the river. No one was injured and the accident is still under investigation.


McAuliffe Campaign Gives Democrats 2014 Playbook

Outside money makes a difference, as demonstrated by Gov.-elect Terry McAuliffe’s successful bid for the state’s highest office.

McAuliffe’s campaign could provide a template for future Democrats’ campaigns, and serves as a warning to Republicans.

According to the Associated Press, “Nominally independent committees, political action groups, environmentalists and unions poured almost $14 million into McAuliffe’s campaign. He went on to raise and spend almost $33 million to defeat Republican Ken Cuccinelli.”

However, money that didn’t go through McAuliffe’s campaign helped him just as much. In the weeks leading up to the election, allies spent an additional $3 million airing television ads in support of McAuliffe.

This year’s elections will be the first in which both parties fully embrace outside groups and their ability to influence voters.

Too Early To Call, But…

The polls just closed in Virginia, but news agencies across the nation are racing to call this very close, very influential governor election.

The New York Times has Terry McAuliffe (D.) winning a majority of demographics, and puts McAuliffe at a very large 16 point lead among female voters. While Ken Cuccinelli (R.) didn’t campaign on women’s issues exclusively, Cuccinelli’s attacks on women’s health clinics during his stint as attoreny general may have greatly affected his pull with female voters.