Medicaid work rule could

hurt most vulnerable

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

Medicaid work requirements were recently struck down by a federal judge in New Hampshire, which represents another positive step toward removing this undue reporting burden for the poorest Americans.

Medicaid work requirements only make access to quality care harder for thousands of people. In Arkansas alone, since the policy was implemented last year, more than 18,000 consumers lost health care coverage. If this policy was implemented nationwide, it’s estimated that between 1.4 million and 4 million Medicaid enrollees would lose health coverage. In reality, the majority of Medicaid enrollees already work at least part time. Those who don’t work attend school or have caregiving responsibilities. Ultimately, these onerous reporting requirements are wholly incompatible with the core objective of Medicaid: to provide quality health care for the most vulnerable populations.

In states where these programs were approved, including right here in Virginia, they have been struck down or haven’t been implemented, demonstrating that work requirements are incompatible with the law. Other states have received approval but have not yet enforced these programs. Either way, Medicaid work requirements have put thousands of the most vulnerable Americans’ access to care in limbo. We must take action to prevent additional states from implementing this bad policy in the first place, so that millions of patients across the country will have peace of mind, knowing that quality, affordable health care will remain within reach.

Jason Resendez.

Board member,Consumers for Quality Care.

Catharpin.

Political pet projects

have pie-in-sky budgets

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

Let’s talk turkey. And I don’t mean a Thanksgiving turkey. I’m talking about the cold hard reality of what it actually means when politicians start throwing out pie-in-the-sky dollar figures for pet projects. They would like us to believe that all they have to do is rub their magic lamps and — presto — the money suddenly appears in nice tall stacks on a table.

For example, several high-ranking Republicans estimate the cost for the Green New Deal would be $100 trillion. That’s trillion with a capital T. $100,000,000,000,000. When you see it written out like that, the sheer number of zeros takes your breath away.

Closer to home, Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney and the NH District Corp.’s projected cost for the coliseum revitalization project is $1.5 billion. Seems downright paltry compared to a trillion. For us, it’s only a billion with a capital B. Only.

Most citizens can wrap their minds around what it means financially to have a million dollars. We might get a little fuzzy when trying to figure out just exactly how many millions make up a billion dollars.

Astronomically proposed numbers for (name your favorite program here) by politicians should make us hesitate, if for no other reason than that of our own financial preservation. I suggest we carefully evaluate the benefit versus the cost factors and consider all of the blood and sweat needed to turn those wishful zeros into their tangible results. After all, we’ll be the ones paying the piper.

That $1.5 billion can’t easily be pulled out of any turkey.

Joseph Ondishko.

Richmond.

To county taxpayer,

$20K is ‘exorbitant’

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

In the discussions about the additional $20,000 to supplement Henrico County School Superintendent Amy Cashwell’s annual contract, there is no mention of the malfeasance by the contract’s initial negotiator. The county negotiator did not understand the nuances of Virginia law. Has the county negotiator been reprimanded or let go? Then again, who would hire an incompetent other than the government?

Then, to minimize the mistake, the Henrico School Board justifies the additional $20,000 payment with: “It’s not an exorbitant amount, but it’s just our way of saying to her that we feel she’s doing a good job.” While $20,000 might not be “exorbitant” to an elected official spending someone else’s money, as a Henrico taxpayer footing the bill, $20K is “exorbitant.”

Max Maizels.

Henrico.

GOP lawmakers ignoring

wishes of the public

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

In the aftermath of the Virginia Beach gun massacre, Gov. Ralph Northam called the General Assembly into special session to consider commonsense gun safety initiatives. In addition, the Virginia State Crime Commission, which is controlled by Republicans, conducted a hearing regarding possible gun safety legislation. Although both houses are controlled by Republicans, there is some hope that corrective actions would be considered, and some passed into laws. Among the Northam initiatives were (1) a requirement for universal background checks, (2) reinstatement of Virginia’s one-handgun-a-month law, (3) a ban on assault-style firearms, and (4) a measure to prevent children from accessing firearms. These are the types of legislation being talked about in Washington since the El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, gun massacres that took 31 lives. The special session was held; the Republican-controlled General Assembly met for 90 minutes and refused to even take a vote. And the state crime commission continues to study the matter.

All of the elective offices in the General Assembly will be decided in the upcoming election on Nov. 5. If the Republicans again control the General Assembly, the public outcry for gun safety legislation likely will again be ignored. To make matters worse, the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate refuses to take a vote on initiatives similar to those that were blocked in Virginia. Polls show that the public overwhelmingly wants these initiatives enacted into law.

Kevin M. Raymond.

Woodbridge.

Statue’s relocation

shocks Richmonder

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

I wholeheartedly agree with Rebecca D’Angelo and Sallie Shepherd that the War Horse statue should never have been removed from the front of the Virginia Museum of History & Culture. I was shocked when the statue was gone.

Maya Debrunner.

Richmond.

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