The View From Over Here: Expanding Medicaid

Governor McDonnell is about to decide whether to expand Medicaid to insure 420,000 lower income Virginians--many of them children--or not to do so. Decision has huge human and financial implications.

Virginia faces a critical decision that will have tremendous impact on hundreds of thousands of Virginians, on the economy of Virginia, and who we are as Virginians. 

If the Governor acts to expand Medicaid in conjunction with the federal Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare"), about 420,000 of our vulnerable, lower-income citizens and neighbors--a large percentage of them children--will have access to basic health care. 

If he does not, they will not have healthcare--except what they get under dire circumstances at emergency rooms around the state.  That emergency care may save lives, but it comes at great expense--and we all pay the tab. 

Furthermore, if he does not act to expand medicaid, Virginia will forego tens of billions of federal dollars in return for saving two billion dollars.  Not expanding Medicaid would not only be immoral, it would be financially very foolish for Virginia.

We would like to think Governor McDonnell will make the right choice, but that is by no means certain or even likely.  So, Fran and I sent the Governor the following letter this morning.  His decision is likely in the next few days.  This would be a good time to let him know if, like us, you are concerned.

The Honorable Robert F. McDonnell

Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia                                                                      
1111 East Broad Street                                                                         
Richmond, VA 23219  


Dear Governor McDonnell:

I enjoyed talking with you on Reston Community TV when you were running for Governor. 

We write you today with an urgency as you consider the vital matter of Medicaid expansion in the Commonwealth as a key part of the implementation of the federal Affordable Care Act.  We strongly encourage you to exercise your
authority as Governor to do what is morally right for over 400,000 vulnerable
Virginians and for what makes good financial sense for Virginia.

When we talked, I was struck by your conservatism, but at the same time by your compassion and genuine concern for those less fortunate and most vulnerable among us. 

The case for Medicaid expansion is a powerful one in these human terms.  Hundreds of thousands of Virginians who have no health insurance and get treatment or any kind of health care only when they end up in emergency rooms when it is often too late.  Furthermore, when these people  finally seek care in desperation, they do so at great expense to all taxpayers. 

Under the Affordable Care Act, these deplorable conditions afflicting so many of your constituents and the nonsensical inefficiencies in the current system can be dealt with—with both positive human impact and financial savings for Virginians. 

As you know, under the ACA the Federal Government foots 90 % of the tab
for Medicaid’s expansion.  What Virginia does pay, while not insignificant, is tiny when compared to the tremendous benefit received for beneficiaries and the Virginia economy as well as the human suffering and degradation relieved. 

We appeal to you as a compassionate, Christian conservative and fiscally responsible Governor to do the right thing morally and economically for Virginians.  Please take the actions necessary to expand Medicaid now and don’t let over 400,000 Virginians be deprived of basic health care. 


John and Fran Lovaas

Reston, VA


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