WASHINGTON — Following Virginia Republicans’ cowardly decision to abruptly end the special session on gun safety, Democrats are shifting their messaging to an issue the GOP is even more afraid to discuss: health care.
“Virginia Republicans are desperate to talk about anything other than the issues their constituents face,” said Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee press secretary Matt Harringer. “If you thought they were cowardly on gun safety — wait until you see how fast Republicans run away from health care.”
Health care was the defining issue of the 2017 General Assembly elections, which led Democrats to flip 15 House seats and finally pass Medicaid expansion. This November, they’ll be able to use the issue against vulnerable Senate Republicans for the first time — and Republican House candidates running in new Democratic-leaning districts.
A federal court of appeals is considering another Republican-led lawsuit to overturn the Affordable Care Act in its entirety — jeopardizing pre-existing condition protections and Medicaid expansion in Virginia.
“For years, Virginia Republicans have campaigned to repeal the Affordable Care Act — but they don’t have any plans to protect pre-existing conditions or health care expansion if the law is overturned,” Harringer said. “If the ACA is overturned and Republicans retain control of the General Assembly, Virginians will lose protections for pre-existing conditions and health care expansion.”
Vulnerable Republican Senators Bill DeSteph, Siobhan Dunnavant, Amanda Chase, Glen Sturtevant and Bryce Reeves, as well as vulnerable Representatives Roxann Robinson and Timothy Hugo, joined the majority of their party in voting against expanding Medicaid, which extended coverage to nearly 400,000 Virginians.
“We only need to flip two seats in each chamber to turn the General Assembly blue and protect health care for millions of Virginians,” Harringer said. “This issue alone will cost Republicans their majority this November.”