David N. Ryan
Nurses support Medicaid expansion
The West Virginia Nurses Association strongly recommends adoption of Medicaid expansion for West Virginia. The benefits of this decision are essential to turning the tide on the chronic deterioration of health in our state.
Nursing is the largest health-care profession. One in 43 West Virginians is a nurse. It is our professional obligation to advocate for the health of our patients and communities. In our considered opinion, approving Medicaid expansion is the single most important decision the governor can make today in the best interest of the health of the citizens and economy of West Virginia.
By accepting expanded coverage, Gov. Tomblin will support an estimated 120,000 hard-working West Virginians to get the desperately needed health care they deserve and cannot afford without this coverage. Tragically, thousands of those who still do not have coverage are home health-care workers -- and others in the health profession. As nurses, it breaks our hearts to see so many working families chronically suffering physically, economically, socially and spiritually because they cannot afford to get help.
Additionally, accepting expanded coverage will grow our state economy by creating 6,200 new jobs where they are most needed, in health care!
With improved access and affordability, people will be encouraged to get necessary health care earlier. The biggest return on investment with the Affordable Health Care Act is its emphasis on prevention and health promotion. By encouraging people to get primary care and screening, we can stop the runaway trend toward high cost, long term and uncompensated chronic treatment. The biggest benefit is that the next generation will grow up with a greater value for health.
West Virginia is at the bottom of nearly every health indicator in the nation. We have the power to change this today!
One stroke of the governor's pen will set in motion the vision for a healthier, stronger and more productive West Virginia for the next generation. West Virginia nurses are counting on the governor to support the health of our hard-working families and economy by approving Medicaid expansion now.
Aila Accad, president
West Virginia Nurses Association