Warner invites Chesapeake Medicaid beneficiary to State of the Union
U.S. Sen. Mark Warner is inviting a Medicaid recipient and health care advocate from Chesapeake as his guest to the President’s State of the Union address on Tuesday evening.
Terry “Bean” White, who lost his private insurance in 2008 when severe arthritis forced him to give up his job in the Newport News shipyards, is one of nearly 400,000 Virginians who gained coverage under Virginia’s Medicaid expansion and who are in danger of losing their health care coverage if the Trump Administration is successful in its effort to overturn the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in court.
White, who has congestive heart failure and has been previously treated for prostate cancer, became eligible for coverage after the Commonwealth expanded Medicaid at the beginning of last year – a move that was made possible under the ACA.
Prior to that, White incurred an enormous amount of medical debt and had no choice but to move in with his sister, her daughter, and her two-year-old granddaughter.
“Despite the Trump Administration’s best efforts to dismantle our nation’s health care law, people like Mr. White are proof that Obamacare is working for Americans, and that Medicaid expansion is thriving in Virginia,” Warner said.
“Bean was a hard worker who lost his health insurance through no fault of his own and soon found himself drowning in health care debt – all while struggling to manage his medical conditions. Thankfully, he was able to access coverage after Virginia voted to expand Medicaid under the ACA. But now, under the Republican-backed lawsuit that seeks to wipe out our nation’s health law, hundreds of thousands of Virginians like Bean are at risk of losing the coverage that in many cases keeps them alive and stands between them and bankruptcy.
“I hope that his presence will serve as a reminder of the potentially devastating consequences if the Trump Administration’s shameful lawsuit succeeds in overturning the health care law Congress passed back in 2010,” Warner said.
“It is an honor to be invited to the State of the Union and I would like to thank Senator Warner,” White said. “The senator understands that without the ACA some of us, like myself, wouldn’t be here. I am diabetic and recently survived prostate cancer. If it weren’t for Medicaid expansion, I would pay about $7,000 a month in medication costs.”
In December, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the individual mandate as unconstitutional and remanded the Texas vs. United States lawsuit to the lower court, instructing it to rule on which parts of the ACA should be eliminated.
If the President’s lawsuit is successful, more than 20 million Americans and nearly 400,000 Virginians could lose their health coverage, with costs going up for millions.
In Virginia, Medicaid expansion made more than 400,000 Virginians like Mr. White eligible for low- or no-cost health care coverage. As of January 2020, more than 375,000 people have actually enrolled in the program.
Prior to this expansion, these individuals fell into a “coverage gap” due to incomes that were too high to be eligible for Medicaid, but too low to receive tax credits to purchase affordable coverage in the health care marketplace.
Sen. Warner has been a champion of health care access for all Virginians amid this Administration’s relentless efforts to dismantle our nation’s health care law in Congress and now in court.
Last week, Sen. Warner denounced a new plan by the Trump Administration to allow and incentivize states to cut Medicaid funding, thereby undermining Medicaid’s critical financing structure and putting care for vulnerable Americans on the chopping block.
Last year, Sen. Warner introduced legislation to allow Virginia, and any other states that expanded Medicaid after the 2014 deadline, to receive the same federal matching funds as states that expanded earlier under the terms of the Affordable Care Act. According to the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association, this bill would save Virginia’s hospitals an estimated $300 million per year in the first three years of implementation.
Additionally, in October, Sen. Warner forced a Senate vote on a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution that would have overturned a Trump Administration waiver rule that destabilizes the nation’s health insurance market and weakens protections for three million Virginians with preexisting conditions.