Northwest Voices | Letters to the Editor
Legislators look into expanding Medicaid
Wealth should not determine care
I am a cancer survivor and Washington resident who, after losing employment, nearly went without any health insurance before being accepted to Medicare via Social Security disability insurance. My medical expenses would have bankrupted me. It is wrong that anyone be denied medical care because they cannot pay for it.
Washington state now has the opportunity to increase medical access to more people via Medicaid expansion [“State legislators study expansion of Medicaid,” NWMonday, Jan. 28]. If the Legislature passes Medicaid expansion into law, the federal government, under the Affordable Care Act, will pick up 100 percent of the costs of insuring the newly eligible population.
Medicaid expansion will also help to offset the crippling cost of treating uninsured ER patients. Legally and ethically required to treat all patients, regardless of ability to pay, smaller hospitals are having difficulties meeting operating costs.
Our society carries more burden treating people who, without health insurance or financial resources, routinely visit emergency rooms, than it would if everyone were covered.
Medicaid expansion in Washington would not bring health insurance to every Washingtonian currently without it, but by increasing access to Medicaid, it would be an important step in the right direction.
--Bill Wardwell, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network ambassador, Seattle