As Virginia governor fights to follow Kentucky’s lead on Medicaid, free-clinic user says she doesn’t want government handout

Kentucky’s success with federal health reform hasn’t been mirrored in adjoining states. It is a complex topic that was made more complex by the Supreme Court ruling that made it easy for states to reject the law’s main device for helping the poor, expansion of the federal-state Medicaid program. That added political complexity to a subject that has philosophical complexity, which showed up at the end of an recent article in The Washington Post about Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s campaign to expand Medicaid against the wishes of his Republican-led legislature.


To illustrate the need, McAuliffe attended a free medical and dental clinic in Wise, in Virginia’s southwestern coalfield, just across Cumberland Mountain from Kentucky’s Letcher County. The Post’s Laura Vozzella ended the story with her interview of Gilda Mountcastle, who had been waiting in line since 5:30 a.m. Mountcastle said she would not have access to a dentist or eye doctor without the free clinic, but said “she did not support Medicaid expansion, which she saw as a government handout.” She told told reporters, “We’re hardworking, hillbilly mountain people. We’re too proud to beg and bum.” From the government, at least. (Read more)
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