Last fall, Governor Terry McAuliffe said the threat of a government shutdown shouldn't be used as a bargaining chip in negotiations over the health care law. Now, he and the Democrats in the Virginia Senate are holding Virginia's budget hostage to Obamacare, threatening to hold up funding for our teachers, schools, firefighters, police officers and local governments. This is wrong! Virginia should pass a clean budget with no strings attached. The debate for expanding Medicaid under Obamacare should be a separate issue.
I urge you to contact Governor McAuliffe, your Senator and your Delegate to ask them to stop holding the budget hostage to Medicaid expansion. If you don’t know who your Senator is you can find out here.
The Medicaid expansion has been touted as a way to get “free” money to help underserved Virginians. We all know there is no such thing as a free lunch. Accepting whatever Federal taxpayer funds Virginia would receive would only be for a maximum of 3 years and then Virginia would be required to take up the slack to the tune of billions of dollars. The federal government is hemorrhaging money and even if I thought expansion of Medicaid were a good idea I do not believe adding to our national debt is in the best interest of any Virginian.
Medicaid is already the largest expenditure that Virginia has in its budget. If we were to take on the additional costs associated with this expansion taxes would have to be raised and reductions would have to be made to important programs like transportation, education and many others.
Some Democrats have insisted that if the Federal government were to stop paying their share of the funding for expansion that Virginia is always free to back out. Nothing could be further from the truth. There is no provision in the Obamacare law or in the regulations promulgated since then that would allow any state to back out of this contract.
In addition to all of this Medicaid is currently riddled with fraud. Last year Virginia Democrats agreed to defer any action with regard to Medicaid expansion until action was taken by the Medicaid Innovation and Reform Commission and now they are going back on that pledge. States that have undertaken reforms have found millions of dollars in fraud. If we fix the broken system there will be additional funds to help those who actually need it without expansion or taking on this additional burden for Virginia taxpayers.
Please contact Governor McAuliffe, your Senator and Delegate to urge them not to support Medicaid expansion in the budget!