January 26, 2013

The big one

Lots of people I know, including myself, are gearing up to push for the biggest advance for social justice in several decades. I'm referring to the expansion of health care coverage via Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

The US Supreme Count decision which spared that ACA also partially undid one of its key provisions which would have required states to raise the threshold for Medicaid to people living under 138 percent of the federal poverty level or risk losing all their Medicaid funding. Under the ruling, states have the option to pass on the expansion and keep their current funding. This means a major struggle is taking place all over the country (especially in those states that hate their poor and working people) to push for the expansion. West Virginia is one of the states in play.

Here are some interesting developments:

*Republican governors in Arizona (!), New Mexico and Nevada are leaning toward Medicaid expansion, as this NY Times story reports.

*A new poll shows that voters in several states favor the expansion.

*Religious leaders and their allies in Ohio are working to nudge their governor in that direction. We'll be copying that here in WV soon, I'd wage.

*Meanwhile, back at the WV ranch, the WV Healthy Kids and Families Coalition, of which the American Friends Service Committee here is an active member, a new campaign to combat child poverty is making a lot of noise. After hosting community meetings all over the state, stakeholders recently voted on their top five priorities and expanding Medicaid is at the top of the list. Many other groups are gearing up for the push, which would cover around 120,000 low income working West Virginians.

This is a great fight and would be a sweet win, the sweetest in my lifetime.

I'd advise that, if one's loins are ungirded, this might be the time to remedy that situation. It's on.

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