Letter: In defense of Sen. Obenshain’s Medicaid position

It is my understanding that the Rappahannock News was not to publish any additional election-related letters this week. That being said, on Oct. 22, you posted an op-ed from Ross O’Donoghue, chairman of the Rappahannock Democrats, in which he criticized Virginia Sen. Mark Obenshain’s record on Medicaid expansion, women’s rights and on his acceptance of campaign contributions. This letter, in my opinion, requires a response before the Nov. 3 election.

Like your newspaper, Sen. Obenshain has an overabundance of responsibilities during this final week of campaigning. There is no time to respond to chairman O’Donoghue’s attack on Sen. Obenshain’s profile on women’s rights; clearly, the Senator’s record speaks for itself. Also, it is laughable to read accusations about accepting campaign donations (as if Obama’s $30,000-a-plate fundraisers and million-dollar vacations aren’t enough to silence even the most prolific Democrat).

The following is Sen. Obenshain’s response to chairman O’Donoghue’s accusations on Medicaid expansion:

“I want to expand health-care access, but not through Medicaid expansion. Expansion requires additional state spending that accelerates over time. Medicaid spending is already crowding out other priorities like education and transportation. Since 2005, Virginia’s spending on Medicaid increased by 79 percent, growing 50 percent faster than total general fund spending. Instead of a proportionate decrease in uncovered Virginians the problem has just gotten worse. Whenever government programs fail to eradicate their targeted problems, liberals say if only we’d spend more it would get the job done. It never does. States that have expanded have found it more expensive than advertised.

“Medicaid should focus on better serving needy and vulnerable enrollees, not able-bodied working adults this proposed expansion targets. We need free market solutions to provide affordable insurance coverage and that encourage patients to be “smart shoppers” with incentives to spend their health-care dollars wisely. We need expanded access to innovative models like health savings accounts. Health insurance purchased by individuals should be tax deductible, just like coverage purchased through employers. We need incentives for wellness and to remove restrictions on interstate insurance competition, allowing a state’s residents to buy insurance from a provider regulated by another state.”

Respectfully submitted,

Evelyn Kerr

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