Last night in Staunton at a vigil coordinated by Virginia Organizing for Medicaid expansion in Virginia, Reverend David Rochford made the case for expansion on the basis of faith. There is a reconciliation required because those who oppose claim to be fighting for “family values.” Someone is a hypocrite.
Reverend Rochford emphasized that Virginia has been at the center of media attention for the last couple of days. This is nothing new. He pointed out that Virginia moved from the solid south into the bellwether state category some time ago. It serves as a leading indicator of trends in the country as a whole. He argued that Virginia is a pragmatic state and that explains why the electorate settles on politicians like John Warner and Mark Warner who can be out of step with their own parties so long as they represent the interest of their constituencies.
“I say we view this as a family issue and a personal issue.” – Reverend David Rochford
Making a stand for his own constituency, a constituency of faith, Rochford stated that he represents the interest of “just people.” Rochford believes that people are worth hearing from and that even people who are not part of a particular faith tradition “feel deeply and passionately about the same things that I do as a Christian.”
“Only God made you. But people make corporations, and corporations are heard from.” – Reverend David Rochford
Until recently, Rochford told the audience, we had a lawmaker in Richmond form one of the poorest constituencies in the Commonwealth. This representative from places like Smyth and Russell Counties said just a couple of weeks ago that the best chance some 400,000 Virginians had was that the expansion of Medicaid could be built into the budgetary process. Despite the implied covenant he had with his constituency, he left at the “most inopportune time possible.” That and some other unexpected bad news made it unlikely that the Virginia budget would expand health care to even one person.
“…as we are Christians, we view as family those who matter to the father that we all share. We view as family the grossly underinsured and the uninsured, who in the case of the latter, number 400,000 people. And 20,000 people in Mr. Puckett’s former district – 20,000 people he’s walking away from and has abandoned who now have no voice in the process in Richmond.” – Reverend David Rochford
Rochford told the audience that by being there, they probably have some sense of family obligation; that they care that they care about those who have been cast aside because “we are all in this together.”
“Healthcare is not an entitlement, whatever that means. Healthcare is not a perquisite of those who are insured; those who make it available. Healthcare is simply an unalienable human right because it’s a human need.”
The GOP talking heads (and select Democrats) are going to have to come to terms with the values they espouse. They must either back up the rhetoric or drop their claim to the moral high ground. On Medicaid expansion they have abandoned family and community values, not to mention fiscal responsibility.