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Del. Ken Plum: Medicaid Expansion Lite

by Del. Ken Plum September 17, 2014 at 3:00 pm 12 Comments

Del. Ken Plum/File photoVirginia’s first governor, Patrick Henry, was elected to four one-year terms. Henry’s reputation as  a leader was well established before he became governor with his famous “Give me liberty or give me death” speech made in St. John’s Church in Richmond before the Revolution.

Virginians honored his memory about a decade ago when the renovated Library of Virginia/Supreme Court building was named the Patrick Henry Building and became the office location for the governor  and his staff and cabinet secretaries.

Henry would have been proud when one of the former reading rooms converted to a public meeting room was the scene last week of a press conference by Gov. Terry McAuliffe announcing his plan to expand Medicaid to the extent that he could within the constraints of the law.

Henry in his day railed against oppression and taxation without representation. McAuliffe spoke on behalf of Virginians who are paying billions of dollars in taxation while the legislature is refusing to act on a plan that would bring that money back to the Commonwealth to provide health insurance to the poorest working people.

I went to the Governor’s press conference last week as a way to demonstrate my support for the actions he is taking to expand Medicaid. Because of legal constraints, his plan is modest. It extends coverage to about 25,000 persons who do not have health insurance including 20,000 Virginians with serious mental illnesses.

The number eligible for health insurance under the federal programs is 400,000, but to reach that number requires an act of the legislature. In the meantime, the Governor has instituted a program to aggressively enroll eligible persons in the federal insurance marketplace.

“While the plan that I am announcing today will do a lot of good for a lot of people, it does not solve the larger problem of providing health insurance coverage to low-income Virginians,” the Governor said. “The General Assembly has made it perfectly clear that they unequivocally are the ones that have the power to expand and close the coverage gap. With that power also comes responsibility.”

The General Assembly is scheduled to go back into special session on Sept. 18 to discuss Medicaid expansion. Neither the Republican leadership that controls the House or the Senate’s Republican majority has indicated a willingness to approve any kind of expansion of health benefits. Rather, they continue to follow the direction of the Koch Brothers-financed Americans for Prosperity and their Tea Party constituents to refuse to accept anything related to what they call Obamacare.

The insanity of refusing to take $5 million a day of Virginia taxpayer monies while thousands go without insurance coverage defies a reasonable explanation.

As Governor McAuliffe clearly stated, it is up to the legislature. I bet Patrick Henry would have been even more forceful; we have taxation of Virginians to support health insurance programs in other states but not ourselves!

To learn more about the Affordable Care Act, sign up for a webinar at Innovate Virginia.

Ken Plum represents Reston in Virginia’s House of Delegates. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Reston Now.

  • FULL TIME BOJANGLER

    I thought we were only subjected to Ken Plum’s horseshit on Fridays?

    • Karen Goff

      Nope. It runs Wednesdays.

      • FULL TIME BOJANGLER

        My mistake, but Jesus, he is awful. Like a broken record.

        • Dexter Scott

          As usual, his dreadful blather has NOTHING to do with Reston.

          But he is the only one given a microphone, because he represents Reston and we have to know what he thinks about Reston!

  • KIKI

    Why doesn’t he just shut up. Owebamacare is kicking millions of people off of insurance.

  • Consis Tently-Wright

    I see all these tea partiers on the road showing off their license plates driving a rice burner. It would be hilarious if it wasn’t so insane. Chances are this mental illness is not covered by the ACA but you will never know what the next election cycle will reveal.

  • History Buff

    This is a joke, right? And Ken is supposed to be a Virginian? Patrick Henry would be disgusted by the unparalleled federal expansion of powers and the political cow-towing to the federal government. Believe what you what ideologically, but don’t try and paint Henry as someone who would support expansion of the ACA.

    Here’s some info Ken: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patrick_Henry

    Here’s an excerpt: Henry served as a representative to the Virginia convention of 1788, where he argued against ratifying the U.S. Constitution, on the grounds that it gave too much power to the federal government.

  • HP

    Blah Blah Blah Blah…this guys needs to shut his pie-hole

  • Rational Reston

    Hey look it’s Delegate Plum beating his medicaid drum again. He loves his “Virginia is refusing money paid by Virginians” line. That money from the Federal government rolls back in a few years and the state needs to pick up the bill. I’m unaware of any slack in the current Virginia state budget to absorb that.

    Does Delegate Plum has an idea to fill that void in financing? Of course that would be a solution, and Delegate Plum doesn’t seem to offer those.

  • Dave

    Kenny, Kenny the Plum

    He’s been around since the dawn of time

    And he likes to tell us why he needs our every dime

    Kenny, Kenny the Plum

    He talks about his wonderful metro

    But doesn’t mention that he is so retro

    Kenny, Kenny the Plum

    He spends our money until we are glum

    And then raises our taxes until we bum

    Kenny, Kenny the Plum

    He loves to tell us about the old days

    But wouldn’t it be great if he gave us taxpayers a raise

    Kenny, Kenny the Plum

    He waves the flag for Medicaid a bunch

    But doesn’t understand that there is no free lunch

    Kenny, Kenny the Plum

    He likes to host events where people mill

    But in reality they are just a shill

    Kenny, Kenny the Plum

    We can’t wait until next year when he is mum

  • Mike M

    “Give me Liberty from overreaching government. Or give me death!”

    It’s pretty much what Patrick Henry was saying. It is truly preposterous for Mr. Plum to try to align Patrick Henry with the monstrosity that is Obamacare.

    For the sake of Reston, we need a representative who feels like he works for us rather than shows up to tell his left wing base general comments they want to hear.

    What Ken is really saying is that he is pretty ineffective in Richmond. He blames the GOP. I’ve often said that sending Ken Plum to Richmond was like sending a poodle to a pit bull party. Given his far left ideology, maybe that’s a good thing.

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