RICHMOND, Va. — Less than two weeks after Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s inauguration, the Democratic doctor has begun to open up about the details of his policy plans.
Having run on a staunch platform of government support for citizens’ health and Medicaid, it was no surprise to see these topics at the front of his mind. What is surprising, however, are some of his specific policy implementation decisions.
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“The governor wants to ensure that Virginians on the Medicaid program are receiving the best possible care under the best possible circumstances for them,” Senior Policy Advisor Rachel Hern shared. “That’s exactly why Dr. Northam intends to operate on a large number of patients himself.”
Northam’s intent to maintain his medical practice, completely pro bono, has been cleared by the Commonwealth Ethics Commision and plans have already been drawn to attach a new surgical ward to the Virginia Governor’s Mansion.
Staff advisors insist that this plan will save taxpayers money since Governor Northam will be offering his services for free, unlike other doctors who would need to be reimbursed for their time. “Governor Northam knows he is already paid a salary as governor and wants to put every minute toward working for the people of the Commonwealth,” Harn explained. “Small operations like apendectomies can absolutely fill the downtime between meetings.”
Reactions from Virginia citizens have been mixed. Some residents would rather simply pay the difference to visit a doctor of their own choosing, a feature that may be added during negotiations with the Republican-lead General Assembly. Others feel that Northam will not let his time in the operating room limit his legislative agenda.
“He can get a hell of a lot done in there,” Norfolk resident Tom Tollbrook asserted. “Take phone calls, have bills read to him — even in the middle of a surgery. I know, I’ve seen Grey’s Anatomy.”
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