Sunday, February 3, 2013

Please support Medicaid expansion in Virginia

I am writing to ask Virginia's General Assembly to expand Medicaid in Virginia. 

As a family physician in Richmond, working with some of the Commonwealth's poorest and most-marginalized citizens, I believe that the expansion of Medicaid coverage up to 133% of the Federal Poverty Level (as called for in the Affordable Care Act) is critical to the health of our citizens, and to the state's economy.

I would like to provide a few examples as to why this expansion is so important:
Given that it is very difficult for adults to currently qualify for Medicaid in Virginia, many receive care through volunteer services and through free clinics.  These programs do excellent work, but I believe many are already running at or near capacity and would struggle to take on additional patients should the safety net unravel any further.  The ACA's health insurance marketplaces (exchanges) do not benefit anyone under 100% FPL, meaning that a failure to expand Medicaid ensures our poorest citizens will left out of our current system.

Expanding Medicaid in Virginia holds the potential to provide better patient outcomes, and to save money.  Failing to expand Medicaid access threatens a financial crisis to healthcare providers, hospitals, and anyone who is insured--and I have not heard of ANY action in the General Assembly or from the Governor that would address this potential crisis.

I believe the way forward is clear: expand Medicaid as called for in the ACA. 


Mark Ryan, MD, FAAFP


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