Letters to the Editor: Week of Jan. 30, 2014

Posted on Thursday, January 30, 2014 at 10:39 am

Medicaid expansion not right for Virginia

Many believe that expanding Obamacare through the addition of approximately 400,000 new beneficiaries is a good thing for Virginia. I disagree. Actually, the most compassionate thing our state legislators could do for Medicaid is to reform it, make it more sustainable and resist the temptation to do a deal with the federal government that could leave Virginians on the hook for close to $1 billion.
There are some in our community who seem to be misinformed and believe Virginia has already expanded Medicaid.  This could not be farther from the truth. Virginia has not expanded Medicaid and there has been no vote on expansion. The state budget last year created the Medicaid Innovation and Reform Commission (MIRC), but that does not mean Virginia will expand Medicaid in the future.
I met recently with Del. Chris Peace and he strongly expressed to me that the Republican-led House remains of the opinion that expansion is not the right approach for Virginia.
In fact, in fine Virginia tradition, the General Assembly, with Peace’s help, slowed the movement to expansion and created the MIRC to retain some legislative governance over the issue. MIRC was supported by a majority of our representatives to oversee the implementation of cost-saving reforms to Virginia’s Medicaid program, before the Commonwealth gives any consideration to Medicaid expansion.  Without MIRC, it is possible that new Gov. Terry McAuliffe would have already made expansion Executive Order #1.
Until the reforms are completed, their effects measured and the federal government offers long-term assurances about cost concerns, Peace will continue to oppose expansion.  I thank Peace for standing strong on this issue.  Busting the state budget is not the responsible Virginia Way.
Washington could take a lesson from Virginia. The federal government is indebted and broken! Eliminating the fraud, waste and abuse would provide more than enough resources to adequately address any societal needs without raising taxes or spending additional money we don’t have.
The history of Virginia and of the United States is one of incredible creativity, ingenuity, independence, and courage in building the most prosperous and free country in the world. So I ask the question: Do you think spending more money, or growing more dependent on Washington is the only solution to our fiscal or social problems?

Sally Fritzsche
Mechanicsville

Government control or personal responsibility?

Here is another idea for significant societal reform: Will Hanover County be a leader and become the first locality to stop issuing marriage licenses? Are we capable of acknowledging that it is an abomination to civilization to tax inheritance? How did we come to the belief that it was ethical to give tax relief or benefits based on certain human behaviors? Why should we give certain privileges to some people and then require others to pay for legal documents to obtain them?
If we required marriage before you procreated would that reduce the number of “bruised tomatoes?” Do you want to follow the Progressives there? If they can mandate that your employer pay for your contraception, then they can mandate that you take them. At some point, they will progress from a belief that the problem is a lack of revenues to an admission that there are an overabundance of burdens.
The question is a simple one: Do you want government control or greater personal responsibility?

Randy Waters
Montpelier

We can be proud of our Hanover registrar’s office

With another election season, including a recount, behind us, we thought it would be a good idea to let the citizens of Hanover County know a little more about our very own Voter Registration office.
We, Lou Szari and Jill Vander Pol, representing the Democratic and Republican parties, were privileged to be observers for the vote certification process in the days following the Nov. 5 elections and the Dec. 17 re-count process at the courthouse.  An accurate ballot count only happens when the people that are put in place are properly trained, starting with all of the officers of elections, people that work a long day on each election. Those are the people that the voters see at their polling places. These hard-working citizens attend anywhere from two to eight hours of training each year to make sure they are able to serve the voters. On Election Day, they show up at 5 a.m. to open the polls and are not allowed to leave until the votes are counted and the paper ballots are sealed and safely on their way to the county complex, sometimes late into the evening, after the polls close at 7 p.m. They are the unsung heroes of each election. Once the votes leave the individual precincts, they are brought to the courthouse where the staff of the registrar’s office takes over.
From the registrar, Teresa Smithson, to the deputy registrar, Sheilah Frattini, and assistant registrar, Sharon Griffin, we couldn’t ask for a more organized office. If there was a question, the staff knew where to go for the answers and the process moved along smoothly. Our electoral board of Ernest Mason, Russell Boraas, and Otis Hall, are men of integrity and honesty. The registrar’s office is run efficiently, and the vote counting, certification and re-count was a smooth, sequential and systematic process.
Every single vote that was cast in Hanover County was tabulated. Forty-three provisional votes were cast, out of which eight were counted. The 35 other provisional votes were cast by voters that were not registered to vote in Hanover, however, each vote was looked at by the members of the electoral board and all three agreed on the decision made regarding the vote.
One observation: using your vote to write in Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck or some such character, may feel good in the short term, but all it does is cause the hard-working election officials to count that ballot by hand and get home that much later on election night. They really don’t need that kind of aggravation.
Another suggestion will help make the election become a true and legal representation of the voters’ intent. If your candidate is already on the ballot, do not indicate for your candidate by filling in the bubble and writing in the candidate’s name, as this will invalidate the vote. Some people think they are “assuring” their vote is counted. In fact, by writing in the name of a candidate that is already printed on the ballot, you are invalidating your ballot.
We challenge the citizens of Hanover to become educated voters, not only on whom they want to represent them, but also on how to properly fill out the ballot. Treat the ballot with respect and follow the clear instructions on voting correctly. Feel free to ask the officers of the election if you do have any questions. They are there to help.
We are fortunate to live in a republic that allows us the freedom to choose our leaders. The processes we have in place are good when they are implemented according to the law. We have all heard horror stories of other localities and the questionable procedures that were followed.
We can be proud of those serving us in the registrar’s office, the officers of elections, and the electoral board in Hanover.

Jill Vander Pol
Republican Observer

Lou Szari
Democratic Observer

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