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Local farmer talks importance of Medicaid expansion

(WHSV)
Published: May. 10, 2018 at 6:45 PM EDT
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Virginia lawmakers are deciding whether to expand medicaid to more people. We talked with a local farmer who says her family falls in the gap of people who are not covered by Medicaid.

Lynlee Wastie, a farm owner in Harrisonburg, says when Anthem pulled out of the Virginia Marketplace, she only had one other option for coverage. She says that option would have cost more than $30,000 per year, which she says she couldn't afford, and it would only cover her and her husband, not her children.

Right now only her children have insurance.

Wastie says the only reason her whole family will get coverage soon is because her husband works full-time off the farm. She says this is a huge problem for many other small farmers across Virginia and medicaid expansion would help a large group of them.

"People who are trying to farm full-time, there's probably not a lot of people able to do that anymore," Wastie said. "We would be part of that group. I imagine a large portion of small farmers would fall into that gap and could be helped."

Wastie added that not having insurance is detrimental when farmers are injured and can not get treatment, keeping them out of work and causing a loss in profit.

Governor Northam issued a statement about what he says are the double-digit health insurance rate increases Virginians can anticipate as a result of the Trump administration’s actions to undermine the insurance market.

Here's his full statement:

“I am disappointed that the Trump administration’s active sabotage of the health care system will result in many Virginians and Americans paying more for health coverage. Those policies include a recent announcement encouraging substandard short-term health insurance plans that ultimately result in financial penalties on people with pre-existing conditions. It is essential that Virginia’s leaders clearly state our opposition to any policies that seek to undermine the sustainability of the insurance market our citizens depend on for their health and financial stability. But we can also take commonsense, proactive actions right now that will help to ameliorate these rate increases and stabilize the health insurance market for years to come, like expanding Medicaid. Virginians need affordable health coverage and meaningful access to medical care, and we have a responsibility to do everything in our power to ensure that happens.”