To the Editor:
I am concerned by efforts to portray cuts to the state's safety net by the legislature as fiscally prudent while not harming Virginians with low incomes. Examples that indicate the harm done by some of the measures are:
Limiting families' access to state child care subsidies for a specific length of time means that only the first one or two children in a family can receive child care. Parents cannot obtain child care if they have more than one or two children because of the time limitation; then they cannot work. This provision does not save the state any money while leaving over 10,000 families on the waiting list for child care.
Laws requiring people to have certain forms of identification to vote discriminate against non-drivers, the elderly who have no need for identification, and Black Virginians who did not have access to hospitals in the past and may not have birth certificates. There have been practically no cases of "fraud" that need to be "corrected" by these ID laws that, far from providing savings to the state, will be costly to implement.
Medicaid is the nation's health insurance program for disabled and low-income citizens, mostly children and the elderly. The failure of Virginia to take adequate advantage of Medicaid programs by having unusually restrictive eligibility rules costs the state large amounts of federal dollars. While Virginia has the ninth highest per capita income, Virginia has the 48th lowest Medicaid eligibility rules in the country. Local governments, non-profit agencies, and our insurance companies must compensate for Virginia's failure to utilize available Medicaid dollars.
Mean-spirited legislation to require ultra-sound procedures for pregnant women or drug tests for people receiving Temporary Assistance to Needy Families have no factual justification and, far from saving the state money, add unnecessary costs to the budget.
Thank you for letting me try to set the record straight.
Anne A. Andrews, Convener
Route One Task Force for Human Services