Some things never seem to change in the South and in Virginia, namely the idea among conservatives that the poor, notably African-Americans, are not worthy of help.
Such is the predicament faced Virginia and other states that have not expanded the federal Medicaid program to help the poor with health insurance just as the Affordable Care Act approaches.
Thanks to a bizarre turn of events, in states where Republican politicians have shunned the expansion of Medicaid, millions will be left uninsured although the point of ObamaCare is to provide health insurance for all, according to the New York Times.
That is because so many make too much to get Medicaid without expansion and make too little to qualify for federal subsidies under through health exchanges set up by ObamaCare.
This is the case in Virginia which has declined to expand Medicaid under pressure from conservative Republicans until “reforms” are accepted and put into motion at some distant point in the future. As many as 400,000 Virginians may be caught in the vise.
“How can somebody in poverty not be eligible for subsidies,” a Virginia woman who lost her job in the health care industry told the Times, which found that the predicament tends to affect African-Americans and single mothers mostly in the South. Some 26 states have rejected expanding Medicaid. Many are in the South from Virginia to Texas and Oklahoma which have a large share of poverty and minorities.
Expanding Medicaid to families who make about $32,000 a year or 138 percent of the poverty rate has been a hotly contended issue in the gubernatorial race. Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe says that Medicaid must be expanded since it would help lower income citizens and create jobs.
Republican candidate and Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli has fought Medicaid tooth and nail since he took office in 2010. In fact, Cuccinelli has made fighting alleged “fraud” in Medicaid a cornerstone of his accomplishments as the state’s top legal officer. He has gone so far as to propose setting up an armed flying squad of Medicaid fraud investigators.
It is a strange notion since Medicaid fraud is not exactly rampant in the state and the perpetrators tend to be doctors, nurses, accountants and ambulance company officials who are not likely to store automatic weapons in their offices.
The General Assembly this year agreed to consider expanding Medicaid after a lengthy review. Del. Steve Landes, a Republican, has said that the issue is not likely to move forward in the near future, according to the Washington Post.