Sunday, June 07, 2015

Why Steve Heretick and Medicaid Expansion Make Sense for Virginia

Vote for Steve Heretick
On June 9th there will be a primary that will decide who will be the nominee for the 79th House District.  The incumbent, Johnny Joannou is a Democrat in name only and is virulently anti-gay, opposes Medicaid expansion and has sided with the failed policies of the extremists in the Virginia GOP.  It is important that Steve Heretick replaces Joannou as the Democrat candidate in November.  Besides Joannou's anti-gay voting record, his refusal to support Medicaid expansion are the most troubling, especially since many of his own constituents would benefit.  A piece in the Washington Post looks at how Medicaid expansion would benefit Virginia.  Joannou's opposition is particularly disturbing given that many of Virginia's rural hospitals are struggling financially. Here are article highlights:
The White House Council of Economic Advisers released a report saying that states that have expanded Medicaid are better off and if Virginia were to do so, an additional 179,000 residents would have health insurance coverage and 16,000 fewer would experience symptoms of depression.

The report also said Virginia will miss out on $1.24 billion in federal funding in 2016 by not expanding Medicaid. The report’s figures were provided by the Urban Institute, a nonprofit public policy group in Washington.

“By expanding their Medicaid programs, states can improve access to essential medical care, reduce financial hardship, improve their citizens’ physical and mental health, and claim billions of dollars in federal funding that could raise their citizens’ standards of living and make their economies more resilient in the future,” the report said.

Matthew Moran, a spokesman for GOP House Speaker William J. Howell said Republicans remain steadfastly opposed to expansion . . 

The governor’s spokesman, Brian Coy, said McAuliffe is still committed to Medicaid expansion.  “Every day that Republicans in the General Assembly wait to work with the governor to get the best expansion deal for Virginia is another day that thousands of people go without lifesaving care and taxpayers send their hard-earned money to Washington while getting nothing in return,” Coy said.
The irony to me is that the GOP claims to be the party of Christian values and "pro-life" yet once children are born, the GOP kicks them to the gutter along with the poor and less fortunate.  Not exactly what the Gospel message calls one to do.  

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