ACA helps create a healthier community

On July 31, Gov. Ralph Northam announced an important Medicaid milestone: 303,768 adults have enrolled in expanded Medicaid in 2019.

Nearly two-thirds of the new enrollees went without healthcare in 2018, but 229,100 have already received treatment this year, including 33,000 for hypertension, 18,800 for diabetes, 16,100 for substance use disorders, and 3,300 for cancer.

They are eligible based upon their age (19-64), their income of no more than 138 percent of poverty level, and their ineligibility for Medicare or other health insurance.

As a volunteer navigator for the Fredericksburg office of Enroll Virginia, I have personally enrolled uninsured waitresses and Uber drivers attending Germanna Community College, day laborers and blue collar workers in pain because they could not afford shoulder and knee surgeries, and single-parent moms with cancer.

Healthy students, healthy workers, and healthy parents contribute to a healthier and more productive community.

Enroll Virginia has also helped enroll many of the Virginians who receive low-cost health insurance through the ACA marketplace. About 400,000 enrolled in 2018. This number decreased somewhat in 2019 because those at 100 percent to 138 percent of poverty became financially eligible for expanded Medicaid.

All of this progress remains vulnerable to reversal, however. The Trump administration has asked the courts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, including Medicaid expansion. Congressman Rob Wittman supports repeal and states that health care is a privilege, not a right. All area Republican state legislators voted against Medicaid expansion except Bob Thomas, who was primaried and defeated by Medicaid expansion opponent Paul Milde.

Those wishing to enroll in Medicaid (year around) or the Marketplace (open enrollment from Nov. 1 to Dec. 15) and year-round special enrollment for specific life events like marriage, birth, death, or loss of employment may contact the local Enroll Virginia office at 540/741-2447 or

Bill Botts


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