The Virginia elections will decide if 400,000 people get health care

This post is in response to this Vox article: It’s not just about the governor’s mansion — it’s the statehouse.

I had the opportunity to speak with my opponent a few weeks ago, and I asked him if he was really against the Medicaid expansion or just voting with his party. He said he wasn’t opposed to it, but didn’t want Virginia to have to pay for it.

WE’RE ALREADY PAYING FOR IT.

We’re paying for it with higher premiums to cover visits to the emergency room, to reimburse hospitals costs for unpaid procedures performed on the uninsured.

We’re paying for it with the millions of dollars in federal taxes paid by Virginia residents that leave the Commonwealth each day, which goes to states that took the expansion.

We’re paying for it with the lives of thousands of people across the state who fall in the coverage gap; friends who aren’t getting the medication they need for chronic physical or psychiatric conditions; neighbors who aren’t getting preventative care and are relying on emergency room services when their blood pressure or diabetes gets out of control.

We’re paying for it every time a family goes bankrupt from medical bills, or decides to drop insurance because premiums are too high.

During this campaign, I’ve been called on to help a man who needed to raise $53,000 for a pacemaker operation — NO INSURANCE. I met a 47 year-old man who had already had 4 heart surgeries that he would never pay back — NO INSURANCE. I saw five hundred dental professionals and volunteers treat hundreds of patients at a remote clinic this spring. People drove from all over the Peninsula and from Matthews to get cavities filled, teeth pulled — NO INSURANCE.

The money is there, waiting for us to take it. The additional income to hospitals and doctors will come back to the state in tax revenue. Premium increases won’t need to cover the uninsured. Preventative care will reduce the need for more expensive emergency care.

There is no fiscal reason that justifies refusing healthcare to 400,000 Virginians. We have a moral responsibility to support Medicaid expansion — my opponent has voted against it time and time again. Next Tuesday, elect me to serve you in the House of Delegates, and turn that NAY into a YEA.

Fifteen hundred people in #VA91 are counting on you. Four hundred thousand of your fellow Virginians are counting on you.