May 11, 2014

It's working

A showdown is taking place in Virginia, where Democratic Governor Terry McAulliffe is pushing to expand Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act to an estimated 400,000 residents of that state. Republicans in the state House are going all out to block any expansion. I guess the rationale is "Let them eat spite."

Meanwhile, in West Virginia, over 117,500 have gained Medicaid coverage since Jan. 1 of this year--not counting those who signed up via the exchange or found out they were eligible for traditional programs.

 And the results are already apparent. As the WV Center on Budget and Policy notes in its blog, the state's largest hospital system, CAMC, reported a 75 percent drop in self-pay patients the first month that the ACA and Medicaid expansion took effect. It has fallen even more since then.

In other words, it's working. I am grateful for the fact that whatever else you can say about WV's Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (and some days there is plenty) he did have the decency to bring health care to many who were doing without. I only wish the leaders in the mean-spirited states have a change of heart.

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