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Members of the House of Delegates differ from the Senate on the Medicaid expansion issue.
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BY JIM HALL and CHELYEN DAVIS
THE FREE LANCE-STAR
Jay Fuller, 63, lives alone in Caroline County. He earns less than $800 a month as a self-employed flooring contractor. He has health problems, but no insurance.
Fuller counts himself among the thousands of Virginians who would be eligible for health insurance under a proposed expansion of the Medicaid program.
He favors that expansion, and on Friday joined Virginia Organizing, an advocacy group, to lobby legislators in Richmond to approve it.
Fuller and others in his group delivered candy watches to legislators' offices, as a reminder that time matters: If Virginia delays expanding Medicaid, it will lose federal money that would otherwise go for people's health care.
The group found mostly secretaries and legislative aides at the lawmakers' offices. But in Del. Joe Johnson's office, Fuller was
Fuller is the type of person the Virginia Poverty Law Center had in mind when it said that an expanded Medicaid program would help low-income, uninsured adults, who "often work in the service and construction sectors," and need help with chronic health conditions.
"He is a great example of someone who is working hard and can't afford insurance. This would help him out," said Jill Hanken, health attorney for the Poverty Law Center.
Fuller said he's worked for 40 years in the flooring business, installing tile, linoleum and carpet.
He said he knows numerous other contractors, like himself, who don't have insurance and are embarrassed to seek help.
Like him, some have health problems and can't afford the bills from a hospital visit.
Fuller's health problems began in 2010, when he was taken by ambulance to Mary Washington Hospital with a suspected stroke.
"Darkness was coming to my eyes. My blood pressure was way out of whack," he said.
Since then, he's learned to control his blood pressure with regular doctor visits and two medications. He also has diabetes, which he controls through diet, he said.
Fuller gets help at the Community Health Center of the Rappahannock Region in Fredericksburg, where he qualifies for the sliding-scale price of $20 per visit. He gets his prescriptions at Walmart for $7 a month.
CHANGING COVERAGE is an occasional series about the 2010 Affordable Care Act and the reforms under way.