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Dollars, cents say don't expand Medicaid

Date published: 4/2/2014

RECENTLY, Democrat Dick Saslaw said "opposing Medicaid expansion is crazy," and "the reason for opposition is hatred of a black president." Nothing says desperation like the abandonment of any coherent argument.

Democrats think that voters are so ill-informed that this rhetoric will win, but I have more respect for our voters than that. With this in mind, several of the innumerable reasons why Medicaid expansion would be disastrous for Virginia are listed below.

First, we don't need to expand Medicaid; Medicaid expands itself. Here are the numbers: a 1,600 percent increase in Virginia's Medicaid spending in 30 years. Second, 20 years ago, Medicaid was 6 percent of the budget. Two years ago, Medicaid accounted for 21 percent (and this occurred while the budget itself was exploding). Simply put, Medicaid is the largest unfunded federal mandate that there is.

Secondly, Medicaid is so fundamentally broken that expanding it would be like bailing out a sinking boat by adding water. Medicaid has been audited over 60 times in 10 years because we know that the program is bleeding money. Yet Democrats insist on this vehicle to further the broken promises of Obama-Care, knowing fully that it is hemorrhaging our money already.

Before I was in the Senate, I worked in the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU). Here are the numbers. Annually, Medicaid loses an estimated $38 billion to fraud. To put that in perspective, that is three-quarters of what Virginia spends in a year. Three quarters of every dollar spent on K-12, higher education, transportation, public safety and law enforcement combined; and that's not the waste and abuse just fraud. Last year, the MFCU in Virginia alone recovered over $200 million! How can expanding this be a good idea?

In fact, last year we lost more money in Medicaid fraud than we spent nationally on Temporary Aid to Needy Families. Seriously, Medicaid loses more in fraud annually than we spend on welfare. And this is the Democrat plan to cover the uninsured?

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