After four years of Republican resistance, the Virginia General Assembly voted May 30 to expand Medicaid eligibility to 400,000 low income residents to receive healthcare under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
For Denyce Tate Clark of Newport News and thousands of others like her around the state, the breakthrough was welcome news.
Clark recalls she had to leave her job as an executive at Bank of America in 2008 after she was diagnosed with a liver ailment.
She took a leave of absence to maintain, briefly, the insurance plan provided by the bank, but soon had to give it up and sign up for Social Security Disability.
She was told that she did not qualify for Medicare because of her age and Medicaid due to her income however meager.
So she used a network of free health clinics in the region.
At one point her liver condition needed intensive medical attention.
But she did not have the money out of pocket to cover the procedures or even the co-pay to see a specialist.
She applied for a one time $10,000 grant to receive treatment at the Mary Immaculate Hospital Liver Institute of Virginia in Newport News, which covered only eight weeks of care, three years ago.
After approval for disability, she applied for Medicare. After a year, she became eligible to receive it.
“At one point I applied for Medicaid to help pay for co-pays and costs out of pocket,” Clark said. “But they said the state had not expanded Medicaid for people with my income.
By Leonard E. Colvin
New Journal and Guide