Regarding the Sept. 14 PowerPost article “Percentage of Americans lacking health coverage drops”:
In Virginia, nearly 250,000 more residents have policies that provide real protection. It’s a life-changer for many. Yet hundreds of thousands of low-income Virginians are left out. While many people above the federal poverty level receive subsidies, those below that line who do not qualify for Medicaid must pay retail, a practical impossibility that leaves them without insurance and basic medical care, which can result in premature death or disability. They were supposed to be covered by Medicaid expansion, which the federal government would largely pay for. Our Republican-led General Assembly repeatedly blocked expansion. Virginia has lost more than $7 billion in federal funding. We’ve sacrificed thousands of health-care jobs and hundreds of millions in annual state budget savings (costs federal Medicaid would have paid).
The General Assembly should acknowledge the costs of our coverage gap and the benefits of closing it. The status quo has undermined Virginia’s ability to plan and fund vital community services and exacerbated its budget imbalance. It ignores the health-care needs of the uninsured and illogically denies the commonwealth the benefit of its residents’ federal taxes.
If there’s a better solution than Medicaid expansion, we need to hear it.
James A. Lindsay Jr., Arlington
The writer is a member of Virginia Organizing.