Virginia legislators are back at work, deciding if Medicaid should be expanded. As usual, it all boils down to money, and who gets more of it from which decision. While I understand the practicality of determining expense, I can say with very little doubt that if any of these legislators’ family members were ill, cost would probably be their last concern, even if they did not have the salaries and health insurance VA taxpayers give them. So why do the rest of us deserve so much less consideration?
It seems the old stereotype of low income families as “leeches”, “freeloaders”, “addicts”, “lazy”, etc. are still alive and well in our state.
The Republicans argue that the federal government might default on its financial obligations. (If this is the real reason, perhaps we should close all our schools, in case the Fed fails to kick in their part of the money for our state’s educational system.) The federal government is expected to contribute millions of dollars per day, totaling billions of dollars, to help Virginia cover the cost of expanding Medicaid. Now our state is facing the same kind of stalemate which shut down the federal government before.
I am not sure why there is such an argument over whether or not we should help the sick and poor. All I can think of is that there is a percentage of our population who simply do not wish to help anyone they deem “unworthy”, and they have for some reason deemed all low income families as such. We do still have “in God we trust” printed on our money, and a large percentage of our politicians identify themselves as Christian, or at the very least, supportive of family values. So, “what would Jesus do”? What kind of person would deny help to anyone in need? Our politicians have a history of spending money, with the idea that they will find a way to cover the expense later, but they typically reserve that privilege for pet projects, and now that it would actually be the right thing to do, they’ve suddenly developed a fiscal conscience.
Here’s an idea: Put off a pet project or two, show some compassion for your fellow human beings, and expand Medicaid.
It might even help our economy when families who are struggling no longer have to worry so much about personal financial devastation from medical expenses.
And, a healthy society is a productive society. I wonder how many of the impoverished and downtrodden will be able to return to productivity after their medical issues have been addressed, and they are no longer treated as subhuman. I wonder if our legislators even care.