Medicaid? What’s that?

Published 12:29 pm Saturday, April 5, 2014

A few nights ago, I almost gave my friend, Iva, a heart attack.

At a restaurant, I told her and another friend, Russell, that I’m actually inclined to agree with Virginia Republicans about reforming Medicaid before expanding it.

As soon as I uttered those words, Iva’s eyes widened as she clutched her heart and pretended to be feeling chest pains.

She was, of course, just mocking me for saying such a thing.

Ha. Ha.

From that I think you can quickly pick up on our respective political leanings.

Why that statement came out of my mouth, I can’t begin to tell you. Perhaps I was just caught up in the conversation that led up to the topic. Some people would tell me — and they will — that my eyes are being opened. Don’t count on it, Tony.

Among my aforementioned friends, our discussions about politics are quite limited and always civil. At the least, we respect one another’s opinions. As you have likely experienced, politics and religion are hot button topics.

Among the three of us, though, religion gets slightly more freedom because we’re all Catholics.

Although when I urge them to skip a worship service now and then, they still pray for me… I think.

As I said, I’m not sure exactly why I said what I did, especially since it was chiefly out of ignorance.

In fact, I just had to ask the publisher whether the controversy is about Medicaid or Medicare. That’s how little I know about either program. Don’t get me started on the Affordable Care Act.

Admittedly, at the tender age of 53, I don’t think about needing those services. My thinking is that as long as I work, pay my bills and taxes, and have insurance, I’m about as secure as one can hope to be these days.

While on the topic of Medicaid, I’ll tell you as I did my friends, that I don’t expect it — or Social Security in its present form — to be around when my brother and I become old men.

But we darn sure want it to be there for our parents, if no one else.

Perhaps one of the reasons for the debate about expand first versus reform first is that many people like myself do not know enough about the program and issue at hand.

I’m open to learning more, though, if for no other reason than to make an informed opinion the next time I blithely spout an opinion and cause more cardiac arrests.

STEPHEN H. COWLES is the staff writer for The Tidewater News. Politically, he considers himself a moderate. Contact him at 562-3187 or