Skip to main content

Opinion Column: Medicaid recipients in Virginia House of Delegates districts
By Stephen J. Farnsworth, Stephen P. Hanna, and Benjamin Harris
Richmond Times-Dispatch (Published March 3, 2014)

You wouldn’t know it from partisan rhetoric or from recent votes in the Virginia House of Delegates, but the commonwealth’s rural Republican heartland relies on Medicaid about as much as inner-city urban communities.

Even though GOP delegates rejected overwhelmingly a plan for expansion of that federal health care program for the poor, Republicans represent 32 of the state’s top 50 delegate districts ranked by percentage of the population on Medicaid. Democrats represent the other 18. These high Medicaid districts represented by both parties would benefit disproportionately from a Virginia Senate-approved plan to add hundreds of thousands of Virginians to the Medicaid program.

Using Medicaid data compiled by the Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services, we created a map that identified Top 50 and Bottom 50 districts in terms of Medicaid population. (Given majority rule in the House of Delegates, we figured that a 50-50 division was as good as any.)

Dark red districts in the accompanying map are those with relatively high Medicaid populations and Republican representation, while dark blue districts have larger Medicaid populations and Democratic representation. Lighter shades of red and blue mark the bottom 50 districts, as measured by Medicaid population, and their partisan representation.

With a Republican victory in a Tuesday special election, the GOP now holds 68 of 100 delegate seats. Many of those Republican districts are sparsely populated, and therefore the map is mostly red. Democratic-held districts generally are concentrated in more populous urban areas and appear much smaller on the map.

As the map shows, a huge swath of the state, including nearly the entire area south of Interstate 64 and west of Interstate 85, is both Republican in its politics and more reliant than average on Medicaid. Another stretch of high Medicaid reliance and Republican representation can be found along the Interstate 81 corridor, also one of the state’s more conservative regions.

Link to column

Originally posted to Steve Farnsworth on Wed Mar 12, 2014 at 11:23 AM PDT.

Also republished by Virginia Kos.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site