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Opinion

Ruff: Who stands for the Jones and Smiths

SoVaNow.com / May 09, 2018
Who Stands For The Jones And Smiths

The Governor, his supporters, and those who have a vested interest in passing a budget that includes Medicaid expansion have portrayed those of us in the State Senate as uncaring; having no empathy for those who are not covered by Medicaid currently. I will tell you that I and those closest to me have a great deal of empathy for those who are having a hard time. That is one reason that I help my wife several hours a week stocking our Food Pantry as it provides for those in our part of Mecklenburg County.

However, I also have empathy for those Jones, Smiths, and (fill in your name) who are hard workers who will not receive one penny toward their medical costs. Many have had their health insurance ripped from under their feet since the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) went into effect. Every insurance policy has risen dramatically since the imposition of that law. Some employers have absorbed part of those costs, others have not. Smaller local companies often have had to pass a larger portion to employees. Some have stopped providing insurance through the business, forcing employees into policies with very high deductibles. Often, small business owners have been the worst hit. Many now have to face a $2,500 monthly premium! This is a major handicap to remaining in business when the first bill paid is for federally required insurance. This has discouraged new startup businesses and forced others to get out.

These folks have not been considered in either the Governor’s budget or the House budget. In fact, the General Assembly passed several bills this year that would have eased the pains for some. In each case, the Governor ignored the pain of these folks and chose to delay any action until possibly next year.

What The Governor’s Bill Does

Currently a family of four that has an income of $25,100 qualifies for many benefits including healthcare coverage for the children, if the mother is pregnant, or if the parents have a disability. Expansion of Medicaid would provide healthcare benefits for those making almost $35,000 annually. If they made one dollar more, the children would receive care but the parents not a penny. No system that treats two families so differently because of one dollar should be considered fair and responsible. We should never have a system that discourages people from working harder to support their family.

Additionally, once someone qualifies for Medicaid, there is no control as to what expenses will be covered. For each of you who have coverage now, your doctor’s office must call your insurance to determine what will and what will not be covered. Likewise, the Medicaid covered patient will have no co-payment to pay as the Governor has proposed, yet you and I are required to make a payment before you see any provider.

What Might Go Wrong

In many of the counties that I represent, there is a shortage of medical providers. Without enough providers, some will have long waits to see their provider. Sometimes this will continue a practice of simply going to the hospital as is currently happening.
I believe I was elected to serve to the best of my ability considering all the needs and demands of the tax payers like the Jones and the Smiths that are working hard to provide for their families.

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