State lawmakers are gearing up for a fight over Medicaid expansion, and on Tuesday a health care coalition called on the General Assembly to extend benefits to 400,000 Virginians. One who would benefit is a waitress from Giles County.
Alyson Cardin lives in Pearisburg, and she lost her health insurance after a divorce. Tuesday in Richmond, Cardin said she suffers from a seizure disorder, and was unable to afford her medication.
“Then I had a seizure … while I was driving my 9-year-old daughter,” Cardin said. “Our car hit a guard rail and I was taken to the emergency department of our local hospital. Luckily my daughter was not hurt, but I realized at that point, I was endangering our lives by not taking the medication.”
Cardin says she is thankful for the Giles Medication Assistance Program that has helped her obtain her seizure medication for free, but she still has no insurance.
And the Healthcare for All Virginians coalition says there are many more like Cardin who are not eligible for the current Medicaid program, but don't have enough income to qualify for subsidized insurance under the Affordable Care Act.
Many Republicans remain opposed. Though the state is currently losing $5 million a day in federal aid, they fear the expansion will ultimately become a long-term drain on state finances.
The expansion can't happen without Republican votes, so supporters like Alyson Cardin are hoping to change some minds.