Bravo for Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, who boldly decided to provide health care for nearly 100,000 lower-income West Virginians by expanding Medicaid under President Obama's national health reform.
Sen. Jay Rockefeller, a longtime champion of universal medical insurance, hailed the governor's move as an "enormous step forward" for West Virginia, a major boon for the state.
The federal government will pay almost the entire cost of this humanitarian upgrade -- 100 percent during the first three years, and 90 percent thereafter.
"Every $100 million in new federal Medicaid funding should create about 2,000 new jobs, $183 million in increased business activity and $64 million in increased wages," Rockefeller said.
It's a win-win decision. Anyone with compassion should praise this action to give health care to an estimated 91,500 "working poor" West Virginians who can't afford insurance, and who usually wind up as charity patients in expensive hospital emergency rooms. The state Council of Churches and nearly all people-helping organizations had urged Tomblin to take the humane step.
However, state Republicans immediately howled. "This is a sad day for our health care, our families, our freedoms and the pro-life movement in this state," GOP Chairman Conrad Lucas said.
What is he talking about? Is Republican "freedom" taken away by providing medical treatment to less-fortunate families? Under President Obama's reform, Medicaid covers birth control. How could that damage the pro-life movement? His rant isn't logical.
Lucas called Gov. Tomblin "just another guy who believes every lie the president has told." Good grief. Why fling petty name-calling at a Good Samaritan decision?
Throughout the past century, conservatives fought every humane advance that improved human rights in America. They opposed voting by women -- and birth control for couples -- and Social Security -- and equality for blacks -- and Medicare -- and decriminalization of gay orientation -- and Obamacare -- etc., etc. Now they're against health treatment for lower-income families. What an ugly picture.
Fortunately, compassionate progressives won all those benefits for Americans.Now Gov. Tomblin has added another "enormous step forward." Well done.