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Fiscal concerns fuel expansion opposition

Date published: 5/22/2014

In the May 18 editorial titled "Fudging the numbers," the FLS lampoons the op-ed of state Sen. Thomas Garrett of Louisa County.

The FLS' principal point was that Sen. Garrett's statistics regarding the extent of Medicaid waste are inaccurate by a "monumental amount."

It can be argued the FLS believes that Sen. Garrett's numbers were offered with the intent to deceive--which, of course, cannot be affirmed and is unlikely.

Perhaps the FLS desires only to set the record straight. Garrett's motive or challenged facts notwithstanding, the numbers-oriented analysis of the FLS editorial made my eyes glaze over.

Either side of the debate can produce statistics favorable to its point of view. If the FLS believes anyone has a handle on the true extent of Medicaid fraud nationally, or in Virginia, that person may be overdue for a long ocean cruise for a return to reality.

Let's be clear, there are sound arguments put forth by both sides of the Medicaid expansion debate. My principal concern with the expansion of Medicaid is fiscal. Demographic shifts and per-capita spending are causing Social Security and Medicare-Medicaid expenditures to grow significantly faster than GDP.

According to the Government Accountability Office, this track is unsustainable and threatens to bankrupt the U.S. economy if projected increases in Medicare-Medicaid and Social Security are not curtailed.

Let's remember the federal government should not be considered a reliable partner with funding going forward. Despite repeated carping by the editorial board of the FLS, recent polling suggests that a slim majority may now oppose Medicaid expansion.

The bottom line is that the expansion of Medicaid in Virginia would not be funded with "free money," regardless of the source.

John E. Frields