Tuesday, January 26, 2021
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Health Care’s Demise for Low-Income Virginians

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What do Slovenia and the U.S. have in common? According to the results of a 2000 World Health Organization (WHO) ranking of the world's health systems, the U.S. ranks ahead of Slovenia by one place in the rankings. The U.S. ranks 37th while Slovenia ranks 38th.  But if you think these rankings are bad for the U.S., just wait, they could get worse, at least in Virginia.

Under the pen of Gov. Bob McDonnell, funding for community health centers and free clinics would be cut in half, from $10 million to $5 million, for fiscal years 2013 and 2014. What's more, according to a Virginia Health and Human Resources report issued in late 2011, close to 298,000 low-income Virginians will stay in the uninsured category even after President Obama's Affordable Health Care Act takes effect.

For anyone who doesn't see this issue through a moral lens, let's look quickly at the economics of this issue. If a fraction of these 298,000 low-income Virginians end up requiring expensive health care, Virginia's taxpayers will have to pick up the tab while insurance premiums for the insured may increase as well. Thus, the problems of the medically uninsured have the strong potential to become a problem for the medically insured as well, economically speaking.