Medicaid Expansion - Letter to the Editor
I ask lawmakers to consider the facts when deciding the issue of Medicaid Expansion.
Opponents claim that the Virginia Medicaid program is fraught with abuse. Yet, according to a 2011 JLARC Report “Mitigating the Risk of Improper Payments in the Virginia Medicaid Program,” recipient and provider fraud totals 0.3%, (or roughly $6M) not the $38B that some have tossed about. In fact, Virginia has one of the best -managed Medicaid programs in the country.
Another argument is “the Federal government will not live up to its financial commitment.” There is no basis for this conclusion. The Medicaid program has been in existence since 1965, nearly 50 years, and during this entire time the Federal government has never reduced its financial commitment to the States.
Virginia has never been shy about accepting Federal money. In fact, the biennium budget currently being considered includes $20B in federal dollars for all sorts of programs out of a $96B budget!
The Senate’s bi-partisan “Marketplace Virginia” addresses every reasonable concern. In Marketplace Virginia, participants would share costs up to 5% of their household income, additional safeguards are in place to prevent fraud and abuse, budgetary savings would be set aside to pay the State’s share of Medicaid in the future; and the program automatically ends if the Federal government fails to meet its funding obligations.
Over 400,000 working Virginians are uninsured. The cost of providing care in the emergency rooms is causing everyone’s insurance premiums to skyrocket and local hospitals are close to financial disaster. The Federal government is willing to pay nearly the full cost of insuring many of these low-income individuals for years to come. Lawmakers have the power to save jobs, boost the economy and help manage the cost of care for everyone. Now is the time to act!
State Senator (D)
31st District (parts of Arlington, Fairfax and Loudoun