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Medicaid opposition not fiscally responsible

Date published: 7/3/2014

Medicaid opposition not fiscally responsible

Republican opposition to Medicaid expansion in Virginia contradicts the GOP's stated policy goals.

Republicans say they are for fiscal responsibility. Yet they oppose a program in which the federal government will pay 100 percent of the cost for three years, gradually reducing its share to 90 percent by 2020.

Virginia is forfeiting millions of dollars in aid.

Further, Medicaid expansion and other parts of the Affordable Care Act are projected to save Virginia more than $1 billion by 2022, according to William Hazel, state secretary of health and human resources. Hazel is a holdover from the McDonnell administration.

A central objection raised by Republicans is that the federal government will at some point back out of its pledge to fund 90 percent of the cost, leaving the state to pay the difference. Yet Gov. McAuliffe offered to make the program a two-year pilot. Republicans still rejected this. Why?

Republicans say they are for job creation. Medicaid expansion is projected to create 30,000 new jobs in Virginia. Still, they oppose it.

One might reasonably conclude that there are two reasons for Republican opposition. One, they don't want to agree with anything the president does, and two, they really don't care about the 400,000 poor and disadvantaged Virginians who would benefit from better health care.

Jeff Blanchard