The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Opinion The consequences of failing to expand Medicaid

Virginia state Sen. Stephen D. Newman (R-Bedford) speaks at the state Capitol in Richmond in 2016.
Virginia state Sen. Stephen D. Newman (R-Bedford) speaks at the state Capitol in Richmond in 2016. (Bob Brown/Richmond Times-Dispatch via AP)
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The March 20 editorial “Virginia Medicaid impasse, courtesy of the GOP ” identified state Sen. Stephen D. Newman’s (R-Bedford) opposition as perhaps depriving about 6,500 of his constituents of badly needed health care.

Republicans would do well to consider an authoritative, six-state comparison study, published in a prestigious, peer-reviewed medical journal that followed mortality rates and noted a drop in mortality with Medicaid’s expansion. Indeed, these data strongly suggest that for every 4,167 low-income, nonelderly adults enrolled in Medicaid, one death is prevented annually. Thus, Mr. Newman and Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment Jr. (R-James City) have important decisions to make. They should consider that the position they take on Medicaid expansion may have life-or-death consequences

Edward N. Squire Jr., Fredericksburg, Va.

The March 20 editorial about Virginia’s medical impasse and refusal of the state Senate’s Republicans to make use of available federal funding for Medicaid patients ended with “There’s a word for a rich state whose policy suggests contempt for its least fortunate citizens: disgrace.” Oh my, “disgrace” is like a mild tap on the arm. Combine the lack of Medicaid funding with the state legislators’ refusal to pass anti-gun legislation and “disgrace” doesn’t begin to cover it.  

I don’t know how they live with themselves.

Caryl Pines Curry, Alexandria