No downside to gaining health care for 200,000 or more; 30,000 jobs and millions of dollars for hospitals from expansion of Medicaid.
Gov. Terry McAuliffe is right to make expansion of health coverage part of the budget process.
While we’re exchanging pleasantries here, in semi real time – although this column will not be most read until March 6th (I need to submit it on Monday, March 3rd as we go to press on Tuesday, March 5th), I feel the obligation, given how last week’s column ended, to update you on the results from my February 26th CT Scan. Presumably, by the title you all have determined that as of this writing, Saturday, March 1st, I have not heard back from my oncologist. Typically, I would have already heard from him, electronically. But so far, not a peep, electronic or otherwise and believe me, I’ve been checking, as you might imagine.
I made it. It’s five years after receiving a terminal diagnosis on February 27, 2009 from my oncologist: stage IV non-small cell lung cancer, accompanied by a "13-month to two-year" prognosis. Let’s be honest, medical professionals don’t toss around the word "terminal" because you’re going to be treated at an airport. Presumably, they know their facts and figures as well as the patient’s present condition, confirmed by a variety of diagnostic results from X-Rays, CT Scans, P.E.T. Scans, lab work and of course the ever-popular biopsy, so their diagnosis/prognosis is a bit more than an educated guess. Nevertheless, there are exceptions to every rule and until proven otherwise, I was not about to succumb to their statistics. Still, based on the best medical knowledge available at the time, this patient (yours truly) was given a limited life expectancy and encouraged to take the vacation I had always dreamed of – for obvious you’re-life-is-now-shorter-than-you-ever-imagined-type reasons, and yet, five years hence, here I am.
To the Editor: In reading the exchange from the two residents of Stratford Landing, I would like to add this. As a dog walker in this neighborhood I have noticed that there is not enough sand still lying in the street to justify the effort, especially when you consider that most of that sand is mixed with soil, road residue and decaying leaves.
I am the human member of our own community center. It is called the barn. I share it with three Arabian mares, some winter birds, and too many mice. On snowy mornings, like the ones in these photos, I must traverse a too steep slope to feed some very impatient horses. I start the journey armed with my pitchfork poised like a staff for balance. While breakfast satisfies the hungry muzzles stretched toward me, I grab a hammer and begin to crack the ice in their water buckets. These are not average barn buckets. They are bright yellow and hang in each stall like spring daffodils blooming on the end of a double snap. Actually, they must be art because I found them at MOMA in New York City. I still wonder how buckets for horses could find their way into a museum shop but, they were spectacular and now they are mine.
During last Thursday’s budget debate, the General Assembly considered the budgets proposed by each chamber. The biggest sticking point continues to be Medicaid expansion, which the Senate budget included but the House budget did not. I vigorously support Medicaid expansion because it’s critical to the 400,000 individuals who could obtain health insurance coverage and would create as many as 30,000 new healthcare jobs. As required by federal law, Medicaid currently covers “mandatory eligibility groups” such as children and pregnant women and gives states the flexibility to cover “optional eligibility groups.” In Virginia, this includes a small fraction of disabled adults not needing long-term care services and working parents with incomes less than 138 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL). All childless adults making less than 138 percent of the FPL and many more disabled adults and working parents would now be eligible for coverage. The expansion would allow individuals with incomes below $16,105 (or $32,913 for a family of four) to qualify.
To the Editor: A recent letter recommended resident-only on-street parking near the waterfront. However, this prescribes the wrong medicine for Old Town's constrained parking. One need only visit blocks in the District or Arlington's Clarendon neighborhood to witness the results of resident-only parking zones. Many of the spaces are left unused in the evening hours, a waste of public resources. On-street parking works best when it is about 85 percent occupied, so that most spaces are in use but turnover occurs frequently enough for a few spaces in each block to remain available at any given time. If demand by residents is far less than the supply, the supply should be opened for use by others.
Virginia is historically slow in extending rights.
In 1967, Virginia was one of 16 states that banned interracial marriage and had criminal penalties for violators. Mildred Jeter, an African-American woman, and Richard Loving a white man, married in 1958, were convicted and banished from living in Virginia for 25 years to avoid serving a one-year prison sentence. On June 12, 1967, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Loving v. Virginia, overturned the convictions of Mildred and Richard Loving, declaring the ban on interracial marriage unconstitutional.
Not to state the obvious (which I readily admit I do), but to be given a terminal diagnosis: stage IV, non-small cell lung cancer, along with a rather disappointing prognosis: "13 months to two years" is a challenging set of extremely unexpected (given my immediate family’s medical history) circumstances. I don’t want to say that I live under a dark cloud – because I don’t like the negative implication or reaction it conjures, but I definitely feel as if I have a metaphorical sword of Damocles hanging over my head; which I only refer to as an-out-of-context Three Stooges reference wherein a non-Stooge was innocently standing under a pie which Moe had thrown to the ceiling and there it stuck, hanging precariously over the character’s head. Now I still don’t know the proper historical context of the sword of Damocles, I only know the Three Stooges version, but there was some imminent danger involved (not death, mind you), but rather a falling pie which ultimately landed flush on the character’s face as she looked up to make further inquiries. Nevertheless, pie issues/references notwithstanding, having seen my oncologist today while being infused and receiving a big smile/ "you’re going great"/thumbs-up set of gestures/reactions while reclining in my Barcalounger with a chemotherapy I.V. dripping medicine into my right arm, is the kind of super-positive feedback with which I can live. Along with my every-three-week pre-chemotherapy lab work and my every-three-month CT Scan followed by my every-three-month face-to-face appointment with my oncologist, this is how I roll. Worrying about upcoming tests, waiting anxiously for results, trying not to anticipate good, bad or indifferent; living day to day and trying to appreciate my good fortune and the unexpected above-average quality of life with which I’ve been blessed – for a terminal cancer patient, that is.
Virginia is historically slow in extending rights.
In 1967, Virginia was one of 16 states that banned interracial marriage and had criminal penalties for violators. Mildred Jeter, an African-American woman, and Richard Loving a white man, married in 1958, were convicted and banished from living in Virginia for 25 years to avoid serving a one-year prison sentence
Fairfax County serving more people now.
A Feb. 11 editorial by Mary Kimm, referencing reporting by Michael Pope, makes an incorrect assertion that our services to people with mental illness in Fairfax County have been “dramatically cut back.”
An ethics reform package passed the Virginia Senate on Monday. Unfortunately, the bill lacks teeth and is only a small step toward restoring public confidence in state government.
Not that I minded it in the least (in fact, I appreciated it in the most), but I received my first senior discount the other day. I was fast-fooding at my local Roy Rogers restaurant when the unexpected kindness occurred. Considering that I’m not at the age yet when such discounts are typically available, I certainly did not (do not) presume that my appearance somehow reflects an age which I am not. In truth, I don’t believe it does. So even though I didn’t ask for the age-related discount, I was offered/given it nonetheless. As the cashier tallied my bill, she then spoke the price and adjusted it downward 10 percent for my surprise "senior" discount. On hearing the lower price and the reason for it, I immediately responded: "Oh, you’re giving senior discounts to people over 40?" To which she replied, while looking me directly in the eye: "No. Over 30." Laughing at her quick-thinking quip, I thanked her again for the discount and commended her on her excellent answer/customer service.
Virginia is not immune to the dangers of climate change. In recent years, we have seen the damage sea level rise and storm surges have caused in our lowland areas. The science is clear that we must cut carbon to the levels scientists say are safe to address these issues.
The Pet Connection, a bi-annual themed edition, will publish Feb. 26. We invite you to send us stories about your pets, photos of you and/or your family with your cats, dogs, hamsters, snakes, lizards, frogs, rabbits, or whatever other creatures share your home or yard with you.