So, I understand that little Bobby McDonnell can’t decide whether to extend Medicaid coverage to 430,000 Virginians who cannot afford to purchase health insurance, compliments of and paid for by the Federal government for the most part, Perhaps I can explain why the decision is a no-brainer in the only language that Republicans understand – in dollar terms.
According to the American Hospital Association, unpaid bills cost hospitals about $40 billion every year, and the Medicaid expansion will do much to offset the cost of uncompensated care. To help with the cost, many hospitals now receive funds through the Medicaid and Medicare Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) programs. Assuming the number of uninsured people will fall beginning in 2014, the Affordable Care Act decreases DSH payments under both programs. So, if Bob McDonnell decides Virginia won’t take part in the program, he’s not just denying Medicaid to almost half a million people he evidently doesn’t care about. He’s also doing all he can to bankrupt Virginia’s hospitals that are the offering health care that’s a last resort for uninsured people.
If the cost of unpaid bills is lowered by Obamacare, that means less cost-shifting to the people who have health insurance, potentially lowering premiums for all Virginians. Having more insured people results in fewer people presenting in emergency rooms with complex, previously untreated dangerous illnesses. Healthier adults are more productive workers. Healthier children do better in school.
Health care is one of the fastest growing employment categories. Expanding Medicaid will create jobs, Mr. “Bob for Jobs.” Medicaid expansion doesn’t even require localities and the state giving piles of money to some corporation to create jobs. Instead, Medicaid expansion is a Federal jobs program with lots of benefits for Virginia’s working people with little or no cost to the state.
I suggest that Bob McDonnell set aside his snitty pique at not being in “President” Romney’s cabinet and do what’s right for Virginia’s insured citizens, Virginia’s hospitals, and Virginia’s unemployment rate. I realize he doesn’t give a hoot for working-class, uninsured people, but surely he cares about the state bottom line. Or, does he? Man up, Bobby. Decide.