News

Senator Barbara Favola Proposes Legislation to Assist Survivors of Sexual Assault on Virginia Campuses

Arlington –December 4, 2104 – Today, Senator Barbara Favola submitted a request for drafting of a bill with support from Senators Jill Vogel and Jennifer Wexton.  The bill would do the following: 

Require Virginia's Colleges and Universities to enter a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with a local Sexual Assault Crisis Center to ensure that campus survivors of sexual assault have immediate access to a confidential advocate who can provide a trauma informed response that includes an explanation of options for moving forward. Informed consent increases the likelihood that survivors will participate in reporting to law enforcement and will participate in the adjudication process. 

Colleges and Universities must also take steps to hold offenders accountable.  This Includes protocols that address the following:

--Provide an option for survivors who do not want to make an official report to make an anonymous report, 

--Provide amnesty for survivors who are concerned that an official report might jeopardize their academic status, 
--Provide clear guidance on linking victims to community resources. 
Senator Favola noted that "Survivors need to feel empowered to come forward and supported in ways that enable them to fully participate in the prosecution of their attackers."

Senator Favola Visits Mobility Lab

At Mobility Lab’s Lunch At the Lab this week, the 14-year veteran of the Arlington County Board discussed a wide array of transportation issues in Virginia, including the Silver Line, the Columbia Pike Streetcar, Virginia’s transportation bill, and Uber.

Favola began the luncheon with a discussion of how her experience in transit-oriented Arlington County has informed her more recent Richmond experience. Mentioning data suggesting that Arlington’s traffic has declined even as its population has increased, the senator attributed this to the county’s smart-growth policies, particularly its robust transportation demand management program.

Mobility Lab Visit

- See more at: http://mobilitylab.org/2014/07/11/virginia-senator-discusses-silver-line-streetcar-uber-at-mobility-lab/#sthash.py2q4wre.dpuf

Governor Signs "Cupcake" Bill

I was honored to have Governor McAuliffe sign my bill allowing bakeries to serve wine and beer.  This bill will help small businesses expand their service options and offer opportunities for fun date night experiences. 

Cupcake Bill Signing

Medicaid Expansion - Letter to the Editor

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Editor:

 

I ask lawmakers to consider the facts when deciding the issue of Medicaid Expansion.

Opponents claim that the Virginia Medicaid program is fraught with abuse.  Yet, according to a 2011 JLARC Report “Mitigating the Risk of Improper Payments in the Virginia Medicaid Program,” recipient and provider fraud totals 0.3%, (or roughly $6M) not the $38B that some have tossed about.   In fact, Virginia has one of the best -managed Medicaid programs in the country.

 

Another argument is “the Federal government will not live up to its financial commitment.”  There is no basis for this conclusion.  The Medicaid program has been in existence since 1965, nearly 50 years, and during this entire time the Federal government has never reduced its financial commitment to the States. 

 

Virginia has never been shy about accepting Federal money.  In fact, the biennium budget currently being considered includes $20B in federal dollars for all sorts of programs out of a $96B budget!

 

The Senate’s bi-partisan “Marketplace Virginia” addresses every reasonable concern.  In Marketplace Virginia, participants would share costs up to 5% of their household income, additional safeguards are in place to prevent fraud and abuse, budgetary savings would be set aside to pay the State’s share of Medicaid in the future; and the program automatically ends if the Federal government fails to meet its funding obligations.

 

Over 400,000 working Virginians are uninsured.  The cost of providing care in the emergency rooms is causing everyone’s insurance premiums to skyrocket and local hospitals are close to financial disaster.  The Federal government is willing to pay nearly the full cost of insuring many of these low-income individuals for years to come.    Lawmakers have the power to save jobs, boost the economy and help manage the cost of care for everyone.  Now is the time to act!

 

Barbara Favola

State Senator (D)

31st District (parts of Arlington, Fairfax and Loudoun

 

Letter on Medicaid Expansion and Marketplace Virginia

Mental Health and the Expansion of Medicaid

By Senator Barbara Favola

 

There is a growing consensus forming in the General Assembly that now is the time to improve the safety net for mental health services. Both the House and Senate budgets increase funding for these services up to $20 million above the proposed budget of $36 million that Governor McDonnell presented in December.

 

What Virginians may not know is that under Marketplace Virginia in the Senate budget, the State would gain approximately $200M a year for mental health services and 77,000 uninsured Virginians needing these services would benefit from this plan.

 

These dollars would support medication, therapy, community based treatment programs and inpatient hospitalization that individuals could access when the first signs of mental illness show themselves. In a recent study conducted by the Department of Medical Assistance Services, we learned that 40% of the voluntary admissions to psychiatric hospitals could have been avoided if early treatment and community based services had been available; 25% of involuntary admissions could have been avoided.

 

A recent report from the organization, Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, entitled “Cut Violence, Cut Prison Costs” noted that “If low-income families receive medical insurance, they are more likely to be routinely screened and treated for their health problems such as substance abuse, depression or excessive aggression. Health care professionals tell us that early treatment can prevent more serious escalation of behaviors that can be harmful to the individual, to family members and to the general public.

 

 Senator Deeds’ bill (SB 260) and other bills before the General Assembly take important steps to improve the crisis safety net. I applaud those steps but I believe that treating mental illness must begin at a much earlier stage and this will only happen if more people have insurance to pay for these services. In fact, Margaret Nimmo Crowe, Executive Director of Voices for Virginia’s Children, notes: “There is ‘no way’ Virginia can successfully reform its mental-health-care system without addressing the uninsured.”

 

This is why it is so critical that Virginia seize the opportunity to leverage Federal dollars by adopting Marketplace Virginia.

 

The House budget conferees should not hold Virginians hostage in an ideological lock. Marketplace Virginia has the potential to make us all healthier and safer while the Federal government absorbs a significant amount of the cost.

 

Now is the time to act.

 

Barbara Favola (D-31) is a state senator representing parts of Arlington, Fairfax and Loudoun Counties.

Expansion of Medicaid Rally at State Capitol

I was proud to stand with Virginia Alliance Against Mass Incarceration & Faith Leaders Moving Forward at a rally this morning showing our support for Medicaid expansion in Virginia. Not only does expanding Marketplace Virginia help thousands of individuals within the commonwealth, it is also a wise investment for the economic health of Virginia. Marketplace Virginia passed the Senate with bipartisan support on Thursday, 

Marketplace Virginia Passed the Senate yesterday with bi-partisan support!

Not only does expanding Medicaid (Marketplace Virginia) help thousands of low-income individuals, it is also a wise investment in the physical and economic health of Virginia’s families and our state’s future. Marketplace Virginia, which passed the Senate yesterday will cover individuals not currently eligible for Medicaid whose incomes are up to 138% of the poverty line. Under the Affordable Care Act, the federal government will cover 100 percent of the costs to expand coverage through 2016, after that Virginia will pay no more than 10%. The state’s economy would enjoy $23 billion over the next 10 years, and approximately 30,000 jobs would be created. Currently, many families and individuals without health insurance are forced to rely on emergency rooms, which are the most expensive treatment centers; you and I pay for this care through higher premiums. Now is the time to move forward. I spoke in favor of Marketplace Virginia on the floor of the Senate and will work with the hospitals, business leaders and other to persuade House Republicans to do the right thing. Thanks for your support in this effort.

 

 

Women's Reproductive Health Caucus Press Conference

The Women's Reproductive Health Caucus, which Senator Favola chairs, held a press conference this morning which outlined their efforts to roll back extreme legislation backed by Republicans to obstruct women's access to health care. 

Senator Favola outlined the consequences of "Marketplace Virginia," the proposed program to provide health care options for the Virginians who cannot afford health care and don't qualify for Medicaid. 

"Marketplace Virginia is an imperfect compromise, but our most important goal is to close the coverage gap and ensure that up to 400,000 Virginians gain access to quality, affordable healthcare" said Senator Favola of the program. 

We must continue to fight for women's rights and stop this war on women that the GOP-controlled house of Delegates has been waging.