Ever since the Supreme Court left the decision to opt out of or expand the Medicaid program up to states, the health care of millions of Americans with limited income and resources have become a political football.
However, that finally changed just recently.
After a grueling debate that lasted for six hours, the decisive vote emerged in the Senate when the highly divided chamber voted 23-17 to adopt a two-year budget that includes Medicaid expansion. It is important to note 19 Democrats and four Republicans joined to pass the bill in Virginia General Assembly.
No more delays from @TommyNorment and the @VASenateGOP -- Virginians voted for an administration that ran on #MedicaidExpansionVA and have been showing UP to #CloseTheGap! Do the right thing and #ExpandMedicaidVA to the 400,000 Virginians who deserve affordable, quality coverage! pic.twitter.com/qC5Mtns35u— PPAVirginia (@PPAVirginia) May 30, 2018
Many lawmakers, including Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam, took to Twitter to applaud the Medicaid expansion in Virginia despite the Senate Republican leadership's relentless efforts to resist it.
It has finally happened! We have finally passed #MedicaidExpansionVA! I have analyzed the work requirements and the language is much improved from the version I voted against a few weeks ago. So glad we will finally be able to help hundreds of thousands of Virginians! #VAgovpic.twitter.com/zGXSrhZzNS— (((Sam Rasoul))) (@Sam_Rasoul) May 30, 2018
VA BLOC has been working in our communities on Medicaid Expansion education and advocacy since our organization began. Here’s today’s team back in the gallery again. This is more than just politics, we know some folks in the 400k who can’t wait. We need #MedicaidExpansionVApic.twitter.com/SCJf0tvAmx— VA BLOC (@VABLOC_HR) May 30, 2018
Clearly, most Republicans were not pleased by the move that will make more people eligible to federally-funded healthcare.
“In the 17 years I’ve been here this is the one budget that scares me to death,” said Sen. Bill Carrico.
He reportedly believes its human nature for people to die so why do anything to stop that.
“When your time’s up, you’re gonna die,” he said, according to Graham Moomaw, a political reporter with the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
The Republican’s heartless remarks didn’t go amiss and people on Twitter called him out on his apparent lack of sensitivity for people who are possibly dying without Medicaid expansion.
On Wednesday, Sen. Bill Carrico (R-Grayson County)) said:— Kathy Williams (@KatWillow12) May 31, 2018
“When your time’s up, you’re gonna die.”
So: I am assuming this person has declined all medical insurance for himself and his family?
O wait, he said "You're" gonna die, not "me". I get it.
Virginians actually pay Sen. Bill Carrico@BillCarrico to represent them? Horrific.— the goodwitch (@TrueGlinda) May 30, 2018
Glad to hear Virginia is close to passing Medicaid Expansion in their state joining the other 33 states who have elected not to turn their backs on Seniors, children, and special need individuals https://t.co/ZHF47Yu4lh
Sen. Bill Carrico’s response to argument people are dying without Medicaid expansion: “When your time’s up, you’re gonna die.”— Graham Moomaw (@gmoomaw) May 30, 2018
Moreover, even in the past, Carrico made little efforts to hide his discontent with the program that could save hundreds and thousands of Virginians from preventable deaths.
Nevertheless, the bill was passed and the state is now seeking relaxation from the federal government’s draconian work requirements for the Medicaid recipients so that it could reportedly allow around 400,000 underprivileged Virginians to be covered at the beginning of next year.
Banner / Thumbnail : REUTERS/Joshua Roberts