Dogwood Daily: News to Go – March 27, 2019
By Keya Vakil
March 27, 2019

Here’s the Virginia news you need to start your day.

  1. The Trump administration wants to take away your health care (again) – If you’re one of the more than 200,000 Virginians who received expanded Medicaid coverage this year, a recent court filing by the Trump administration could put you at risk. Trump’s Justice Department is pushing to throw out the entire Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare), including the provisions that protect the millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions. If the ACA is struck down, Virginia will lose the federal funds that allowed the state to expand Medicaid to hundreds of thousands of Virginians this year.
  2. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos wants to cut $17.6 million in Special Olympics funding – In another story that seems too cartoonishly cruel to be true, Education Secretary Betsy Devos’s budget has more than $8.5 billion in cuts to education spending, including $17.6 million cut from the Special Olympics (!!!). Before you get (rightfully) angry, there’s a sliver of good news: since Democrats control the House, Devos’ proposal is unlikely to be approved. Check out Special Olympics Virginia to see how you can get involved.
  3. Virginia takes steps to combat rising drug costs – More and more Virginians have relied on coupons and co-pay assistance to afford paying for continually skyrocketing prescription drug costs. Under previous law, those coupons didn’t count towards your deductible (costing you $$) – but Virginia just became the first state to outlaw the practice. Thanks to two new bills that were signed into law by Gov. Ralph Northam last week, insurers are now required to count any payments made on a patient’s behalf toward their deductible. This is an example of government working, and we’re here for it.
  4. Instagram can wait Are you reading this while you’re stuck in traffic on I-81? If so, please stop and read it later… In a move to reduce traffic fatalities, Governor Ralph Northam amended a new bill from Sen. Montgomery Mason (D-Williamsburg), making it illegal to use a phone while behind the wheel of a car. We’re all about the #tbt too, but not at the risk of your safety.
  5. Money, Money, Money – Do you make less than $50,000 a year? If so, Governor Northam’s new budget amendment might make you smile. The proposal would give one-time $110 tax refunds to single Virginians while giving $220 to couples. The amendment would help an estimated 151,000 Virginians. Hopefully, this gives some much needed relief to families struggling to pay rent, bills and transportation costs – even if only a little.

One last thing before you go: There have been a lot of proposals to combat climate change, but perhaps none stranger than this one from Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah). Look, love is great and so are babies, but…they’re probably not gonna’ solve climate change.

Until tomorrow!  

  • Keya Vakil

    Keya Vakil is the deputy political editor at COURIER. He previously worked as a researcher in the film industry and dabbled in the political world.

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