Delegate James P. (aw-shucks-just-call-me-“Jimmie”) Massie, III (R, VA-72) is shown on the left richsplaining to 400,000 uninsured Virginians (mostly the working poor) that his experience as a businessman who has bought and sold “millions if not billions” of Treasury Bonds (funny he doesn’t know which; wouldn’t YOU know?), gives him the authority to say it’s a bad idea for them to get the quality health coverage that would be available to them if only fat cat Republican lawmakers would agree to Medicaid expansion.
This is a federal program to which Virginia taxpayers are already contributing, but from which they aren’t able to benefit because of callous and elitist lawmakers like Massie. Who is being denied quality health care? Individuals who earn $16,243, families of three that earn $27,724, or people who are in some other circumstance that makes them ineligible for Medicaid benefits as currently structured but who cannot afford to buy healthcare. There are 2,500 people in this tough predicament in Massie’s district, and 12,500 in Henrico County, where VA-72 lies. If Virginia’s Republican lawmakers would agree to expand Medicaid, these people would be able to protect their health and the health of their children, an estimated 100,000 well-paying jobs in the health care industry would be created over the next five years, and struggling hospitals would be mightily relieved of the burden of providing uncompensated for care. (The facts – but not the snark – in this paragraph are from The Commonwealth Institute’s excellent reports here and here, where you can find fuller details concerning the need for and the benefits of Medicaid expansion).
What is one of Massie’s main reasons for voting against Medicaid expansion? “In Virginia’s Medicaid program,” says he, “approximately 30 percent, or $2.7 billion a year, is lost to waste, fraud and inefficiencies. (PolitiFact).” THIRTY PERCENT??!! MAN!! That’s YUUUUGE! Problem is: IT’S AN ALTERNATIVE FACT! (PolitiFact says “mostly false” – but I don’t quite understand how anything other than “true” can be anything other than “false”). But I quibble. Point is: MASSIE IS JUST MAKING S*$T UP!
BUT, as luck would have it, voters in VA-72 have the chance to VOTE OUT Nasty Massie, because for the first time in 10 long years, he is facing a challenger: a great young progressive Democrat named Schuyler VanValkenburg who promises to bring an inclusive and compassionate voice to the House of Delegates. Hillary Clinton won VA-72, so Schuyler has a seriously good shot at winning this seat (see persuasive analysis here). Heck, if the adults among the 2,500 Massie thinks should be left to suffer and die get to know about Schuyler and realize where their interests lie, that could swing the election. So…progressive friends, please spread the word!
Whether or not you live in the 72nd, please consider contributing if you can (money is of course needed, but so are volunteers to canvass, phone bank, and spread the word on social media (yes! please re-post this)). We need to work to re-take the General Assembly to get good laws passed that can help people’s lives, and whatever you can give to that worthy cause is much appreciated. Need more convincing? Listen to Schuyler tell why he’s running and then compare to Massie’s mean-spirited diatribe. Whom do you want to have serve the Commonwealth?