Letter to the Editor: Think about health care when voting

Editor:

We have a responsibility to help protect our friends and neighbors, and the upcoming election gives us an excellent opportunity. Many of us rely on the exchanges provided by the Affordable Care Act for our health care. Now President Trump is attempting to undermine us by cutting off federal subsidies to insurance companies that guarantee affordable health care to millions of Virginians. The inevitable (and desired) result will be more of us will lose coverage and a marked increase in cost to those of us who rely on the exchanges.

The 400,000 Virginians, primarily in rural areas like ours, already fall into the coverage gap between Medicaid and the ACA due to their income level. We have been fortunate that Gov. Terry McAuliffe has included Medicaid expansion in his budget, and Ralph Northam has promised to uphold that commitment. By contrast, according to the Washington Post, Ed Gillespie refused to respond when asked in a radio interview, but implied that he supports the plan that will remove some coverage restrictions and raise costs for those who need it most.

Additionally, we voters have another important choice that will affect their health care: the election for our district in the Virginia House of Delegates. Michael Webert, our current delegate for the 18th District, has been a staunch opponent to extending Medicaid to Virginians who fall into the income gap. By contrast, his opponent, Tristan Shields, has promised to support expansion of Medicaid to those who cannot access coverage and do what it takes to guarantee all Virginians have affordable and effective health care. Medicaid expansion will give Virginia another important benefit – adding more than 15,000 new health care jobs in the state.

Kit Goldfarb, Mary-Sherman Willis, Leslie Cockburn, Rappahannock County

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