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Opining on an Opinion Piece on Reforming Health Care in Virginia

Posted by Chip Block on February 27, 2018 9:25 AM EST
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Sometimes, as Joe has consistently written, the best way to state a strong and supportive point of view, is to re-post a great......

....bit of content written by another person.  And when that other person happens to be a well-regarded 16-ear member of the Virginia House of Delegates, then maybe the content has even more impact.  And when it is tied to language supporting the expansion of health reform and a balanced state budget, then it becomes a downright "must read".

However, I am simply going to repost the most compelling and most relevant aspect of the opinion piece as it relates to driving change, better quality and access and cost controls and healthy living in the state of Virginia.  It was written by Chris Jones and published in this past Sunday's Opinion section (3.25.2018) in Joe's favorite newspaper, The Virginian-Pilot.  Unlike many editorials, this one has a decidedly conservative bent is absolutely compelling for it makes a powerfully logical and conservative case for the expansion of Medicaid in a state that has been hard-pressed to deny that idea on mostly political reasons embedded in financial concerns.

I will not publish the entire editorial/Op-Ed Opinion piece that Delegate Jones authored.  But the core part of the piece is excellently written and is a compelling move to tie legislation, federal funding, political compromise and health reform wrapped into the title, health care reform.  Speaking of the title, it was entitled "Virginia's way forward on reforming health care" and was featured "Op ED' in Our Views.

So, here is an excerpt from a nicely written opinion, which suggests HOPE for a solution that makes sense:

"The budget is balanced, cautious with revenue estimates and consistent with our policy goals.  It targets investments in the core functions of state government, such as K-12 and higher education.  Most notably, the House is taking a significant step to expand reform health care for low-income Virginians.

The House plan would set up a path for Virginia to use federal Medicaid funding to provide private health insurance to low-income Virginians and include long-sought conservative reforms.  Virginia will simultaneously pursue additional health care funding and a waiver to reform parts of the Affordable Care Act.

Virginia will use the expanded federal funding to enroll participants in a private insurance plan.  Options include a managed-care plan negotiated between an insurer and the state, an individual plan available on the health insurance exchange or employer-sponsored plans.  Health savings accounts to encourage personal responsibility-similar to the plan adopted by Vice-president Mike Pence when he was governor of Indiana-also would be included.

Our key reforms include a requirement that able-bodied individuals on Medicaid enroll in the Training, Education, and Employment Opportunity Program.  TEEOP is modeled after the waiver approved for Kentucky and represents our vision for educational opportunities and the dignity of work.

For Virginians with incomes between 100 and 138 percent of the federal poverty level, our plan provides access to private health insurance or employer-sponsored health plans through premium assistance.  It also includes reasonable and sensible premiums and cost-sharing so that newly eligible individuals are accountable for improving their well-being.  Primary care services and wellness checkups are prioritized over emergency room visits, encouraging people to adopt healthy behaviors and bringing down health care costs for everybody.

Our plan requires hospitals to pay for the state's share of the cost of expansion.  This responsible step means individual taxpayers will not have to pay more, or risk seeing funds cut from education, in order to increase health care coverage.

My colleagues and I in the House have expressed concerns about the potential effect of expansion and whether the federal government will keep this commitment. We do not pretend that these concerns are going away, and we took proactive steps to address them".

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