The May 17 editorial “Va.’s lonely Medicaid stand” highlighted what’s wrong with the conventional wisdom surrounding Medicaid expansion: that if the federal government offers you “free” funds, you accept, regardless of the long-term costs, the strings attached or the failed experiences of other states.
The editorial board pointed to Arkansas’ Republican-controlled legislature, which accepted funds for expanding Medicaid via the so-called private option. Less than a year later, Arkansas is facing cost overruns projected to reach up to $45 million, and state leaders are poised to seek a federal bailout to cover the ballooning expense of this misguided program.
The editorial also cited Arizona as an example of Republican leaders embracing Medicaid expansion, but Virginians should know that a previous expansion projected to cost $389 million ended up costing more than $1.6 billion in 2008, according to the Foundation for Government Accountability, leaving taxpayers holding the bag. Who says the costs for expanded Medicaid under Obamacare won’t likewise prove higher than we’ve been told?
The decision by Virginia Republicans not to expand Medicaid is logical and prudent. Lawmakers in Richmond — unlike their counterparts in Little Rock and Phoenix — are considering the long-term interest of state taxpayers and should be applauded for doing so.
Sean Lansing, Arlington
The writer is Virginia state director of Americans for Prosperity.