September 16, 2013

It’s frustrating that political considerations continue to trump common sense and basic math in the debate over Medicaid expansion in Virginia [“In Va., Medicaid is a dividing line,” Metro, Sept. 15].

The expansion is expected to cover more than 400,000 lower-income Virginians, including many of the hardest-working, who can’t get insurance otherwise, and save lives that would needlessly be lost for lack of it. Financed almost entirely by the federal government, this expansion would bring the state billions in direct payments and thousands of new jobs, and it would significantly reduce the burden Virginia’s taxpayers and its insured bear for indigent emergency care. By some estimates, it would actually cost Virginia more to do nothing than to expand.

Expansion opponents should acknowledge the high price of political obstruction to Virginia taxpayers. Beginning Jan. 1, Virginians’ federal taxes will finance Medicaid expansion in Maryland and other states, yet we will receive none of the lifesaving and economic benefits here, a logic-defying outcome that no rational analysis can justify.

Common sense should prevail over politics. Obstruction is no substitute for problem-solving.

James Lindsay Jr., Arlington

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