Letter to the Editor: Politicians are blocking health care for Virginians


The Commonwealth of Virginia has some 400,000 residents who have no health insurance or access to regular medical care. They cannot afford it. Yes, in extreme need they may go to the emergency room – at great cost to the facility and to those who can pay for care and their insurers.

By any standard, this is a shameful state of affairs. It is outrageous when decent health care is available to the 400,000 – and paid for, at that.

Here are a few facts. Expanded Medicaid has been made available to the states by the federal government – at no cost whatever to the states for two years. After that, the states bear no more than 10 percent of the program’s cost.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe is pressing Virginia to accept the expanded Medicaid opportunity. This program of a hand-up to lower income people is so attractive that GOP governors in Indiana, Tennessee, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Iowa and Arkansas have taken up the expansion. It is under consideration in states not known as liberal hotbeds such as Montana, Alaska, Idaho and Utah. Republican members of Virginia’s General Assembly have proposed reasonable compromises on the issue.

Notwithstanding all of the above, the Republican leaders of the House of Delegates just say “no.” Their bogus excuse is that the Feds may not carry out their end of the bargain. Could it be they’re just too busy passing new laws to deprive additional Virginians of their right to vote?

It is obvious that this is no Republican versus Democratic matter. Rather, a handful of politicians has decided their hatred of Barack Obama justifies their denying health care to nearly half a million of their less fortunate fellow citizens. This ranks right up there with the perverse plot of Sen. Harry F. Byrd Jr. some years ago to save segregation by “massive resistance.”

Bob Lowerre, Woodstock