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Letter: What’s Best for State Residents?

— Two items in the July 18-24 Arlington Connection ("Leaving Millions on the Table" and "Exchange in Limbo") call attention to actions by Virginia officials that could deprive millions of Commonwealth residents of enhanced access to health care. Despite the recommendation of his own blue ribbon panel, Governor McDonnell refuses to set up the health care exchange required by the Affordable Care Act. The exchange will simply create an insurance pool where small business and individuals can take advantage of large group pricing benefits. A recent Reuters poll found that 80 percent of Republicans support this concept.

The Governor also threatens to pull the state out of expanded Medicaid coverage that will be overwhelmingly paid for by federal funds. This policy would result in Virginia missing out on nearly one billion dollars a year to compensate Virginia hospitals for services currently provided to the uninsured poor.

Because these two programs are part of "Obamacare," the Governor prefers to play a game of chicken that calls to mind the Massive Resistance movement that shut down Virginia public schools in the face of court-ordered desegregation in the 1950s. Rather than wait in hopes that the November election will result in changes to "Obamacare," why not take steps now to prepare for the aspects of the law that will most help state residents?

Rob Abbot

Arlington