Virginia - Oppose Medicaid expansion | Council For Citizens Against Government Waste

Virginia - Oppose Medicaid expansion

State Action

February 28, 2018

Dear Delegate,

On behalf of the 46,011 members of the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW) in Virginia, I ask that you reverse course and support the Senate budget for the 2018-2020 biennium that does not expand Medicaid.

Even with a work requirement, Medicaid is a flawed program that must be reformed before expansion is considered.  Medicaid patients experience worse health outcomes than those covered by other insurance, due in part to the lack of access to physicians, as more than one-third do not accept Medicaid patients.  As the Medicaid rolls have greatly expanded, service has become even worse.  Medicaid consumed $8.8 billion of the Virginia state budget in Fiscal Year 2016, and $9.3 billion in Fiscal Year 2017, which was 18.6% of the budget.  This spending crowds out other state spending and leads to a worse quality of government services, and would do even more damage to the Commonwealth’s budget if the program were to be expanded.  For example, in neighboring Maryland, which has expanded Medicaid, 27.1% of the budget was spent on Medicaid in 2017, and Medicaid’s rate of growth as a percentage of the Maryland state budget from 2016 to 2017 was 5.6 times that of Virginia’s. 

The federal government may claim that it will pay for 90 percent of the cost of expansion, but given the rising national debt, there is no guarantee that promise will be fulfilled indefinitely.  In fact, during the 2011 “supercommittee” budget negotiations in Washington, President Obama offered to reduce Medicaid expansion by $100 billion over 10 years.  When a future Congress finally decides to cut Medicaid matching rates, Virginia taxpayers will be on the hook for an expansion of Medicaid, and the pressure to increase taxes or make drastic cuts to other public services will be significant.

At a time when the Trump administration continues to make progress in easing the burden of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act by reversing the Obama regulations that limited choice and curbed lower cost, short-term, limited-duration health insurance plans, state legislators should be offering innovative healthcare solutions that enhance competition and drive down the cost of health insurance for hardworking families, rather than attempting to expand Medicaid. 

Republican legislators should not be complicit in driving hundreds of thousands of Virginians into a government-run health insurance program that will further expand the bloated state budget.

Again, I urge you to oppose any expansion of Medicaid in Virginia.

Sincerely,

Thomas Schatz

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