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It is a little-known fact that states have tremendous control over Medicaid benefits. Even lesser-known is that the Department of Medical Assistance rates Virginia's Medicaid eligibility criteria as among the strictest in the nation.
A single parent with two children in a rural area (classified as Group I) such as Spotsylvania County must make less than $5,417 a year to qualify; in Fredericksburg (Group III) the cutoff is $6,874.
One provision of the Affordable Care Act gives states the option to expand Medicaid. Expansion would be a huge boon to Virginia's residents and her economy. More people covered by health insurance means healthier grocery store cashiers, healthier servers in restaurants, healthier Virginians.
With 100 percent federal funding for the first three years, and then no less than 90 percent after that, the Kaiser Family Foundation reports that Medicaid expansion would bring in $9 billion to $11 billion in federal dollars over the next five years into Virginia. Let's do this for our state.
If you want to learn more or share your thoughts about Medicaid expansion, join our brown bag lunch with Virginia Organizing, the Virginia Interfaith Center, Virginia Consumer Voices for Healthcare and the Nuns on the Bus on Tuesday, Dec. 18, from noon to 1 p.m. at St. George's Episcopal Church.
Jacqueline W. Lewis