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Pass the budget, then deal with Medicaid

Date published: 4/3/2014

Pass the budget, then deal with Medicaid

From a smart budgeting standpoint, Speaker Bill Howell and others in favor of a Medicaid expansion budget compromise have the right idea ["It's wrong to link implementation to budget," March 22].

Virginia needs to practice priority-based budgeting, which encourages government to spend only what it knows it can afford, with the revenue that it knows it can collect.

Medicaid expansion only complicates this issue, because predictions of health costs savings have not come true in states such as Arizona, and even in Arkansas, where the "private option" plan has already exceeded the federal government's caps.

According to research from State Budget Solutions, Virginia already relies on the federal government to supply 23.5 percent of its general revenue each year. Increasing this reliance as part of the general budget process puts the commonwealth at risk of a serious shortfall as Congress cuts back on spending.

Virginia must settle on a sound budget first, and separately consider the risk of Medicaid expansion.

State Budget Solutions is nonpartisan, pro-reform and proactive. Its goal is to successfully engage political journalists and bloggers, state officials and opinion leaders in a new way of thinking about state government and budgets, reforms, transparency and accountability.

Joe Luppino-Esposito


The writer is editor and counsel of State Budget Solutions.