By expanding access to Medicaid, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell could easily give more than 400,000 uninsured Virginians peace of mind knowing that they can have both economic security and health care coverage.
The alternatives for people who can’t afford private health insurance are bleak. Today, many uninsured Virginians wait until they are very sick to get care in emergency rooms and health clinics, reducing the odds for successful treatment. Or, in the case of a serious illness, they can build up insurmountable debt that leaves them in a financially precarious position.
Despite these bleak alternatives, Governor McDonnell has said he is going to wait until the November 2012 election to move forward with any decision regarding the Medicaid expansion in Virginia.
The Supreme Court’s recent ruling on health reform through the Affordable Care Act cleared the way for millions of Americans to receive health care coverage. But since Medicaid is an optional program for states, Virginia is not required to expand this valuable program.
If Virginia chooses not to implement Medicaid expansion, it will turn down tens of billions in federal funding and leave thousands of hard-working, low-income Virginians uncovered. Hospitals that treat large numbers of uninsured patients would lose access to funding offered through the expansion. Insured Virginians will continue to pay for uncompensated care in the form of higher charges for services and increased premiums.
More than 400,000 Virginians will benefit from the Medicaid expansion.
Medicaid, like the private health insurance industry, is not perfect. But to ignore the good that it could bring to thousands of working families across Virginia warps reality and brings us no closer to solutions.
Tell Governor McDonnell, “Expanding Medicaid is the right choice for Virginia.”