As a result of a backroom bribe — OOPS! meant to say “As the result of an agreement between two gentlemen” . . . Republicans now control the General Assembly.
Their first action was to pass a budget that drags the state backward.
First, they funded education at pre-2009 levels, leaving local school boards scrambling to plug gaps with money they don’t have.
Second, Republicans refused to accept Medicaid expansion.
Go below the fold for further discussion of the need for Medicaid expansion.
First — this is IMPORTANT:
The Affordable Care Act envisioned Medicaid expansion as part and parcel of the Act. For this reason, Medicaid reimbursement rates were cut by the ACA — BECAUSE — the Act assumed states would accept Medicaid expansion. Expansion would provide people with Medicaid insurance, which would pay for their medical care, which would more than replace what medical caregivers would lose because the Act reduced Medicaid reimbursement rates.
However, the Supreme Court ruled that states could not be required to accept Medicaid expansion. Thus, Medicaid reimbursement rates were cut, thereby cutting Medicaid payments to medical caregivers — HOWEVER — in states that did not accept expansion, Medicaid insurance payments did not replace what hospitals lost in reimbursement, thereby putting hospitals that serve a lot of uninsured patients (mainly hospitals in poor and rural areas) in a real financial bind.
Got it? Now, let’s look at some facts.
— A study by the Colorado Hospital Association compared 15 expansion and 15 non-expansion states. Here’s an important result of that study. In states that accepted Medicaid expansion, hospital spending on charitable (uninsured) patients DROPPED by over 30%. States that did not accept Medicaid expansion saw charitable spending INCREASE by over 10%.
— One hospital in Virginia has already closed because, mainly, of uninsured patients. Lee Regional Medical Center, Pennington Gap, Lee County, shut down several months ago. Lee Regional served SW VA’s poorest counties — Lee, Wise, Russell, Tazewell, Buchanan . . .
— A Oregon study projects that 266 – 987 Virginians will die this year for lack of medical insurance. Why? Because — (1) women without insurance don’t have mammograms or Pap smears, thus, they don’t find out until too late that they have breast, uterine, or cervical cancer (and don’t get me started on Republican attacks on Planned Parenthood where women can get screened for free); (2) people without health insurance don’t buy meds, thus, they don’t take their meds regularly, thereby making chronic conditions worse.
Let’s face it: REPUBLICANS ARE EVIL SONSABITCHES and we need to pound them with the results of not expanding Medicaid: hospital bankruptcy, uninsured people dying.