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On May 6, I was re‑elected to another four-year term on Galax City Council and I want to thank voters and citizens of Galax for that honor.
It is humbling to be extended this opportunity and I will try to fulfill your expectations.
On May 7, the front page of The Gazette contained two articles regarding the much-discussed Medicaid expansion that is delaying adoption of a budget for Virginia. You will note that city council supported a budget resolution calling for the House of Delegates to pass a budget as soon as possible and it includes a request for a two‑year pilot program to expand health care coverage for 600 Galax citizens.
Below that article was the headline, “Poll shows support slipping for Medicaid expansion in Virginia.” This is the question asked by the pollsters: “The Democrats propose to subsidize private insurance for 400,000 uninsured and low-income Virginians by using federal Medicaid money that would otherwise not come to Virginia. Republicans oppose this expansion because they fear the federal Medicaid money will not come as promised and also say the current Medicaid program has too much waste and abuse and needs reformed (sic) before it is expanded.”
In the survey, people were asked whether they were in favor of using federal money to expand health coverage or if they were opposed to using federal money to expand health coverage.
All the emphasis in the survey was Democrats versus Republicans. It wasn’t mentioned anywhere in the survey whether the people polled were for their local hospitals closing due to lack of payments or indeed if this possibility mattered at all to the respondents.
My fear for our area is that our inattention to this matter may cause us to lose our hospital and all the surrounding and affiliated health care providers. This may sound severe, but a diminished health care presence here means no economic development, no growth and as a result a declining and irrelevant community.
That is not what I want and I hope it is not what we as a community want.