The 2017 elections demonstrated that Virginians believe that individuals cannot work, take care of their families, or pursue happiness if they cannot see a doctor when they are sick. The candidates who heard this message and ran on expanding access to healthcare, won.
Those advocating for expansion are more than willing to compromise with lawmakers who may have legitimate policy concerns. We know that 33 other states have already opted to insure their working poor. It is time that our federal tax dollars stay here in Virginia to help cover approximately 400,000 hard-working families earning up to 138 percent of the poverty level.
Making health insurance available to more Virginians is the right thing to do and the sensible thing to do. The Federal government is offering to cover no less than 90 percent of the costs of insuring Virginia’s working poor. Virginia’s hospitals are committed to covering the remaining 10 percent of the costs. Additional money flowing to Virginia under Medicaid expansion will enable the state to increase funding for schools and other needed services.
Another benefit of Medicaid expansion is the likelihood of smaller rate increases in our health insurance plans. Studies have shown that in states where more people are insured, the cost of uncompensated care drops. Yes, we will all benefit if more of us have access to healthcare. It is time to act.