Republicans Mislead about Medicaid Negotiations

I got this by email from my delegate, Rick Morris:

Governor Terry McAuliffe and General Assembly Democrats are demanding that we expand ObamaCare in Virginia before they will agree to pass a budget.

This is wrong. Virginia’s budget is not a bargaining chip. Regardless of how you feel about ObamaCare, holding hostage funding for our schools, teachers, police officers, firefighters and local governments is wrong.

It’s similar to emails that other Republican delegates have been sending to their constituents throughout Virginia.

It’s hard for me to take it seriously when Republicans complain about brinkmanship over budget impasses. They don’t have the right. The emails also say that Democrats won’t compromise. But it’s Republicans in the House of Delegates, like Rick Morris, who won’t compromise. House Republicans even rejected the Virginia Senate compromise, “Marketplace Virginia”, which had bi-partisan support. When House Republicans complain that Democrats won’t compromise, what they mean is, “Democrats won’t cave”. And Democrats should not cave on Medicaid expansion.

Medicaid expansion will help 400,000 people who are too poor to qualify for the provisions of the Affordable Care Act but not poor enough to qualify for Medicaid under current limits. Those are working people, not the right wing’s exaggerated numbers of “welfare queens”. Expanding Medicaid will even help keep some of them keep working after a medical crisis. And Medicaid expansion will create jobs.

The Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association spells out:

  • Implementing the Medicaid expansion in Virginia would provide a $3.9 billion boost to the Virginia economy annually;
  • The related federal funds could support more than 30,000 jobs; and
  • While most of the direct benefits accrue to the health care sector, significant benefits would also be enjoyed by businesses and households.

Medicaid expansion is also supported by the Chamber of Commerce, because it’s good for Virginia’s economy. The people that Medicaid expansion is bad for are the politicians who want to see the Affordable Care Act fail, and health care providers who have benefited from the skyrocketing health care costs which are finally getting under control.

If you’re in Virginia, call your State Delegate today and tell him or her that you support Medicaid expansion, and that you don’t want House Republicans to hold up the budget trying to block it.

Blogging Again

After a very long break due to such real-life distractions as a difficult computational mathematics class and duties as the Suffolk Democratic Committee chairman, I’m going try this again.

Anyway, to start off with, I just sent an email to my delegate Rick Morris, in response to an email from him about his recent town hall meeting and a poll he conducted prior to the meeting. In that email, he wrote

71% of those polled agreed that Obamacare should be repealed and 68% agreed that Medicaid Expansion is not for Virginia.

75% of those polled did not want to repeal the Virginia Marriage Amendment which is an amendment to the Constitution of Virginia that defines marriage as solely between one man and one woman and bans recognition of any legal status of gay marriage.

I wrote,

If most of those who took your recent poll were on your mailing list, then that fact would skew the results away from an honest sample. Also, I’m sure you know that questions phrased like …

“Do you support or oppose ObamaCare‚Äôs Medicaid Expansion in Virginia? While expansion could provide coverage for 400,000 currently uninsured Virginians, it could cost the Commonwealth of Virginia over $1 billion per year, forcing cuts to other key services like education, mental health and public safety.”

… don’t yield honest results. An honest sampling of your constituents would certainly yield different results.

As disappointed as I am with the push-poll, I do applaud you for hosting town hall meetings. I hope you will continue to increase your efforts to honestly represent your constituents.

I don’t blame Mr. Morris for conducting an email poll of those who are on his mailing list. I would only ask him to acknowledge that such a sampling is made up almost entirely of people who support him and not of the general population of his constituency. If he makes that acknowledgement, then the fault is on the part of his constituents who have chosen not to involve themselves in the political process simply because they don’t agree with the views of their representative.

I do blame Delegate Morris for his push poll questions. It is dishonest to tell people what to think and then brag about how they agree with you. This is common practice for the likes of Randy Forbes, and here Delegate Morris seems to be following Congressman Forbes’s lead.

On the other hand, Rick Morris seems to be making some effort to reach out and hear his constituents. For that Delegate Morris deserves some recognition.

Remember that your political leaders are your representatives, but it’s hard to hold them accountable for not representing views of those who don’t voice them.

Delegate Morris represents Virginia’s House District 64. His website includes not only a (somewhat confusing) contact form, but very clearly includes his email addresses and phone numbers.