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February 14, 2018 · OPINION

A fiscal conservative can prove she has a heart

Virginia Sen. Jill Vogel of Upperville.
By Scott Christian

On Monday, Feb. 12, state Sen. Jill Vogel (R-Upperville) missed an important opportunity to be a fiscal conservative with a heart.

Sen. Vogel serves on the Finance Committee, which crafts the Senate version of the state budget. In the next few days, the Virginia Senate will finalize its proposed version of the budget. Will the budget include federal Medicaid expansion dollars to enable nearly 400,000 Virginians — including 7,100 in her 27th District — to get healthcare and save the state money? Or will it decide to help 20,000 people — just 5 percent of those who would be served by Medicaid expansion — at a higher cost to the state?

Sen. Vogel could be a leader on this issue. She could join her fellow Republican Sen. Emmett Hanger Jr. of Augusta County in advocating the fiscally-conservative and morally-compassionate position of Medicaid expansion.

By tapping federal dollars for full Medicaid expansion, Virginia would save $5.7 million in state dollars now spent on hospital indigent care, mental health services and other state-funded health programs. Those savings would offset new costs, resulting in an official net state savings estimate of $138 million in general funds during fiscal 2019 and 2020.
Supporting full Medicaid expansion is the fiscally-conservative approach.

It is also the compassionate approach. Most individuals and families who would qualify for Medicaid expansion are disabled adults, working parents or those who are working but still poor and without insurance. Helping low-income families also helps hospitals and middle-income families by covering uncompensated care that often gets passed on to consumers through higher premiums.

At Monday’s meeting, Sen. Vogel failed to step forward as a fiscal conservative with a heart. Instead, she voted for Sen. Siobhan S. Dunnavant’s bill (915) that would help about 20,000 chronically ill people at a cost of an extra to the state and remained silent on the question of Medicaid expansion. Although it appears that Sen. Dunnavant’s bill may end up as vehicle for moving forward in the Senate, the real decision will be whether to include federal Medicaid expansion dollars in the budget.

Over the next few days, Sen. Vogel will have another chance to lead in the development of the budget. She should step forward and join Sen. Hanger in being fiscally conservative and morally compassionate. Sen. Vogel says she wants to be a fiscal conservative with a heart. Now’s the time. Include Medicaid expansion in the budget.
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Rover 530 · February 18, 2018 at 8:49 pm
Sen. Vogel voted in Senate Finance Committee to kill the Senate bill that would impose penalties for manufacturing, importing, selling, offering for sale, possessing, transferring, or transporting "bump stocks" which are designed to increase the rate of fire of a semiautomatic rifle but does not convert the semiautomatic rifle into a machine gun. Fiscally conservative but not very morally compassionate. Bump stocks were used by the murderer in last October's massacre in Las Vegas.
BJ · February 17, 2018 at 11:17 am
Party before Country seems to be a running theme with all the politicians, especially Paul Ryan. When they decide that the US treasury was their personal checkbook? If any of us ran our bank accounts like the US Government does we would be out in the street. Time to put more than a few of our elected (?) officials to the curb with the rest of the trash.
Jim Griffin · February 16, 2018 at 10:18 am
I find myself once again in complete agreement with citizen observer. This new year finds us in agreement on many things.

Vogel puts party over principle, politics over constituents. She is playing an ambitious political game that leaves us voters by the wayside.
citizen observer · February 16, 2018 at 10:12 am
I've been looking into articles about Sen. Vogel the last couple of days. She is nothing like I thought she was.The Medicaid issue is just the beginning.

She strongly supports big landowners getting tax breaks for putting their land in easement, making all the little homeowners pay more in taxes.

She allowed a cancer bill for firefighters fighting cancer to be tied up in the Finance Committee.

She did not propose a bill on distracted driving, to get phones out of driver's hands, like she said she would after fatalities near Remington.

Appears she's not in touch with her constituents at all. There is a reason she did not win the Lt. Governor's position and maybe it's time she gets voted out of the Senate when her term is up.
Jim Griffin · February 15, 2018 at 10:31 am
TooTrue is once again mistaken: I have no financial interest at all in Fauquier Now (or its competition) and neither do I have any special relationship with its owners. In fact, I defend both papers equally. I confess to a strong belief in quality journalism as an essential element in any democracy.

Neither do I see either paper as doing much other than reporting facts. On occasion, they publish clearly marked opinion pieces -- like these comments -- but they do not and should not reflect upon the news outlet because they are presented by others.

I shared one meal with each of the publishers years ago in order to look them in the eye and take their measure. I'd happily do so again, but I defend only their right to call them as they see them should they choose to do in clearly marked opinion pieces.

It is easy to verify these facts because my name is attached. How about you, TooTrue? Ready to stand accountable for your mistaken comments? Why do you prefer unverifiable anonymity?

As for Ron, I take issue not with his comments but with their direction. The news outlets are messengers, unless they offer clearly marked opinion. Slamming them for objective commentary misses the point. Without the facts they present there would be little upon which to comment.
TooTrue · February 15, 2018 at 10:05 am
Ron, Jim Griffin must have some sort of ownership interest in Fauquier Now or personal relationship with the owners or their family as he is always defending it. Fauquier Now makes their money on selling the ads to business and never is concerned with the taxpayer but being able to access stories by way of politicians. Mrs. Vogel and her family are rich so money means nothing to her. It is easy to verify this fact besides the nice Mercedes.
Jim Griffin · February 15, 2018 at 7:46 am
Ron Tiemens:

Again, I do not work for Fauquier Now. I am a commenter as are you.

The reduced status of Virginia Medicaid benefits is no favor to Virginia taxpayers who fund them nonetheless.

Both Medicaid and Medicare are important programs for the health of Americans and play an important role in making health care accessible to all.
nonewtaxes · February 14, 2018 at 10:29 pm
Let's be even more compassionate and take less money out of the taxpayer's pocket at all levels of government.
Jim Griffin · February 14, 2018 at 1:59 pm
Ron Tiemens:

Take note: This is an opinion piece in Fauquier Now, not written by Fauquier Now.

Virginia taxpayers pay for Medicaid regardless -- it is part of their federal taxes. They get no benefit, however, because our state chooses to leave your money on the table.

Let's be compassionate to taxpayers and give them full value on the money they already spend.
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