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For a third month now, Virginia has denied medical insurance to 400,000 needy Virginians by deliberately refusing $450 million in federal funds to expand Medicaid. In 2013, Virginia ranked 48th in per capita Medicaid spending, a figure that is hard to square with Republican claims that Virginia's Medicaid program is already growing at an unsustainable rate. Given the intransigence of the House of Delegates--led by its speaker, our very own William H. Howell--and the makeup and rules of the Medicaid Innovation and Reform Commission, it seems unlikely that Virginia's ranking will improve anytime soon. This level of calculated neglect towards the neediest of Virginia's citizens is repugnant to everyone of compassion and good will, regardless of political affiliation.
Such callousness does have its rewards however. In a March 23 FLS article ("Outside Money Funding Fight") it was reported that multi-billionaires David and Charles Koch--tea party deep pockets who fund a broad range of anti-Obama and anti-Affordable Health Care campaigns across the nation--donated $50,000 last year to Howell's political action committee. That seems like an awful lot of money for a Republican apparatchik whose gerrymandered district allows him to run unopposed every two years, thus avoiding any accountability to voters. In two previous letters I have opined that Howell's opposition to Medicaid expansion may be based in run-of-the-mill Southern racism. How unsurprising to learn that he's also taken money for it.
W. Barry Clark