Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Expand Medicaid

Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Expand Medicaid

For four years, the General Assembly has debated expanding Medicaid, leaving the lives of 400,000 uninsured low-income Virginians in the balance. Their inaction has also cost Virginia more than $10 billion in federal funding thus far. The time is now to expand Medicaid in Virginia.

As a former employee of the Virginia Department of Social Services, I worked every day with uninsured households who had to live in fear that an unexpected illness or injury would mean financial ruin for their family. Every day that we don’t expand Medicaid is another day hundreds of thousands of Virginians may not seek treatment when they need it to avoid paying thousands of dollars in medical bills. We now have an opportunity to make health care available to those who need it.

Expanding Medicaid isn’t just the right thing to do — it’ll save Virginia money. Last month, a bipartisan group of Delegates and Governor Northam showed that expanding Medicaid could save Virginia $421 million over the next two years. That’s money that could be invested in education, job training programs, infrastructure repairs, raises for our teachers, or wherever else the money is needed.

We have an opportunity to help more Virginians get the care they need - and to save money doing it. We need Medicaid expansion now.

Maani Stewart