Anyone with half a brain – or a heart that isn’t made of ice – knows that Virginia should have expanded Medicaid years ago. So-called “fiscal conservatives” and “states rights” Republicans should want to expand Medicaid more than anyone, given that: 1) “Because Virginia has not expanded Medicaid, the state is missing out on $14.7 billion in federal funding from 2013 to 2022″; and 2) “If Virginia does not expand Medicaid, its residents will pay $10.6 billion in federal income taxes over the first decade of ACA implemenation that will be used to pay for Medicaid expansion in other states, while receiving no federal Medicaid expansion funds for their own state.” And that doesn’t even consider the fact that expanding Medicaid would results in 462,000 more Virginians gaining access to health care coverage, including many in rural, “red” parts of the state that are (mis)represented by Republicans.
Yet despite the many reasons to expand Medicaid, and basically no good reasons not to, Virginia Republicans – unlike Republicans in numerous other states (e.g., Ohio, West Virginia, Indiana, North Dakota, Iowa, Arkansas, Kentucky) – have obstinately refused to do so, costing our state heavily. Yet despite the no-brainer nature of moving ahead with Medicaid expansion ASAP, we STILL have to listen to idiocy like what Del. Ben Cline (R-running for Congress in VA06) spewed out this morning on the floor of the Virginia House of Delegates. Check it out if you want, while keeping in mind that basically every word he says is either distorted, false, or just complete bull****.
By the way, note the guy sitting behind Cline’s right shoulder, and not looking too pleased — Del. Terry Kilgore (R-Wise/Lee/Scott Counties). Why is Del. Kilgore not looking too pleased? Because yesterday, in the Roanoke Times, Del. Kilgore argued that the “next step for rebuilding Southwest Virginia’s economy” involves exactly the course of action Kilgore’s Republicans – including Ben Cline – have blocked for years now: expanding Medicaid.
Of course, even Kilgore’s op-ed arguing to expand Medicaid is filled with disinformation and erroneous statements (e.g., that voting against Medicaid expansion all these years hasn’t been strongly against the self-interest of people living in southwestern Virginia) most likely in an effort to cover his right flank from attack. But at least Kilgore’s finally acknowledging – in his own annoying way – that it’s time to throw in the towel and move ahead with expanding Medicaid.
Now, Kilgore being a right-wing Republican, he of course has to work as hard as he can to make people’s lives as hard as possible, in this case imposing a “requirement that able bodied adults receiving Medicaid assistance should work or seek opportunities to gain the work skills necessary to find and secure a job.” That’s really dumb, but at least here in Virginia it appears that we’re talking about a version of this work requirement that’s heavily watered down, so that hopefully it won’t hurt too many people too badly.
Yet none of that is good for the Ben Clines of the world, who basically want his own constituents to NOT have access to quality, affordable health care, even if that means they get sick or even die. Why would Cline take such an immoral, despicable position? One possibility is that he actually believes being immoral and despicable are the ways to go in life. Another is that he’s dumber than a box of rocks.
The third possibility is that he’s desperately trying to out-extreme/out-crazy his main opponent for the VA-06 GOP nomination. That would be Cynthia Dunbar, who – according to Right Wing Watch (bolding added by me for emphasis):
Before joining Liberty University, the evangelical school founded by the late televangelist Jerry Falwell, Dunbar stoked national controversy when she tried to insert historical revisionist views into the Texas public school curriculum and textbooks. Since many textbooks are designed for the large Texas market, the changes, which would have placed a right-wing spin on American history and the U.S. Constitution, would have had an impact in other states as well.
Among other far-right views, Dunbar says she opposes the separation of church and state since she believes the founders wanted the government to promote religion. After leaving the school board, Dunbar admitted that she tried to shape the state’s curriculum in order to cure America of being a “biblically illiterate society” byteaching “the ‘laws of nature’s God’ revealed through the Holy Scripture.”
That came as no surprise, as Dunbar once led the board in praying for “a Christian land governed by Christian principles” and asserting that the Bill of Rights came straight out of the Bible. She similarly told a Washington, D.C., prayer rally that schools cannot instruct in an environment “devoid of the presence of the most high God,” praying for God to “invade our schools.” In a speech in favor of a sweeping anti-abortion bill, Dunbar asserted that lawmakers “don’t have the freedom to make any laws if they are contrary to what God has said in his Holy Scripture.”
Dunbar believes that the U.S. was designed to have “an emphatically Christian government” and must have a “biblical litmus test” for public officials, saying that they must have “sincere knowledge and appreciation for the Word of God in order to rightly govern.”
So yeah, that’s who Cline’s trying to out-crazy. No wonder why he’s wasting everyone’s time on a Friday afternoon by taking too the floor of the Virginia House of Delegates and ranting against something everyone knows we should have done years ago — expand Medicaid at long last!