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  • Photo of Delegate Plum speaking to a gathering of Korean Americans.
    Delegate Plum speaking to a gathering of Korean Americans.
  • Photo of dignitaries at Reston Founder
    Founder's Day as Reston Turns 50

I am in my thirty-third year of service representing the 36th District in the Virginia House of Delegates. I am a retired teacher and school administrator, having been employed by the Fairfax County Public Schools for nearly 30 years. Serving as your delegate is now my full-time focus.

This website is intended to assist us in communicating with each other. I hope that you will subscribe to my electronic newsletter, Virginia e-News, that is emailed every Wednesday. Each week I share my thoughts on a pressing issue or human interest item in the form of a commentary. Read this week’s commentary below. In the newsletter you’ll also find a bulletin board of local information and a calendar of events happening in our community.

Please let me hear from you on your needs and interests. I am honored to represent you and here to serve you as effectively as I can.

Ken Plum.

Delegate Ken Plum’s Commentary

Billion-Dollar Give-Away!

July 23, 2014

Photo of Delegate Ken Plum speaking at his State of the Commonwealth Breakfast

Speaking to nearly 100 people at the American Tap Room in Reston Town Center for my annual State of the Commonwealth Breakfast

By the time you are reading this column Virginia will have reached the milestone by having refused to accept a billion dollars of monies paid by Virginia taxpayers to close the coverage gap for 400,000 working poor Virginians who cannot afford health insurance! A $1,000,000,000 is a lot of money! We got to this point by the Republican majority in the General Assembly refusing to pass a plan for Medicaid expansion that would bring more than $5 million dollars a day to the state, produce as many as 30,000 new jobs in the health care industry, insure as many as 400,000 of the working poor, and enhance the quality of life for Virginia’s workforce and their families.

What is the alternative proposed by the Republicans? Speaker of the House Howell was quoted last month as saying that House Republicans propose to help the uninsured through “free clinics and community health centers and through expanded hospital services.” Hospital representatives are saying that they need the Medicaid money in order to expand services. One hospital in the state has closed, and others report financial stress. The free clinic serving this region is reported to be in economic difficulties.

Last week Stan Brock’s Remote Area Medical (RAM) set up its mobile clinic in Wise County, VA, as it has been doing a weekend a year for more than a decade. More than a thousand people who do not have medical insurance or access to regular medical services show up and stand in line for hours to be seen by one or several of the more than a hundred medical care professionals who volunteer each year to run this free clinic. Brock who achieved fame for his television series Wild Kingdom has described health care needs and services in the Appalachian region that includes Southwest Virginia as being like that of a third-world country.

The General Assembly majority has been able to stymie efforts by the Governor to get a plan for Medicaid expansion approved. While the legislature is still in special session, it is not expected to meet again until September 22. There is little optimism that there will be a change of heart on the part of Republicans as the national organization Americans for Prosperity threaten a primary challenge to anyone who breaks rank. Two senior Republican committee chairs were defeated in primaries in the last election cycle by Tea Party Republicans as was House Majority Leader Congressman Eric Cantor defeated this year. Unfortunately the desire to keep one’s legislative seat seems stronger than the moral call to do the right thing and provide health care to people who need it.

The billion-dollar give-away is money paid by Virginians under the Affordable Care Act that goes to Washington and is not returned because of the legislature’s refusal to act. Write to your friends, family, and colleagues and encourage them to contact their legislators to support legislation that will keep $5 million a day that will add up to another billion dollars by early next year in the state for the benefit of Virginians.


For previous commentaries, visit the Virginia e-News archives.