Virginia House Republicans Can’t Answer Hard Questions About Medicaid Expansion

After successfully resisting Medicaid expansion for four years, Republicans in the Virginia House have done an about-face and now support it.  While the issue is pending, the Obamacare Truth Squad is sending one hard question a day about Medicaid expansion to Del. Chris Jones who, observers say, is the prime mover behind the switch.  His responses, or lack thereof, appear below: 

3/21/18 – “Earlier this month, President Trump released his budget for 2019, which cuts funding for Medicaid expansion, as do the House Republican and the Senate Graham-Cassidy proposals. The message is clear from both Congress and the White House — funding for Medicaid expansion program is unlikely to continue….” (article here).  In light of these facts, how can you justify your ‘damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead’ push to expand Medicaid in Virginia?

3/20/18 – The bad news about Medicaid expansion keeps rolling in every day.  Because expansion spiraled out of control in New Hampshire, Republican lawmakers there recently introduced legislation to reduce the eligibility threshold from 138 percent to 100 percent of FPL for childless able-bodied adults. The enrollment of 54,000 healthy childless adults under Medicaid expansion forced New Hampshire to cut reimbursement rates to doctors and to deny adequate treatment to children and adults with developmental disabilities, brain disorders, and other chronic issues.  If the same thing happens after you expand Medicaid in Virginia, will you patron a bill to reduce the eligibility threshold?  How much will you reduce doctor reimbursement rates?  And how will you avoid giving the short end of the stick to the truly needy?  How is it responsible to proceed in the face of known dangers and the horrible experience other states are having with expansion if you don’t have answers to these questions?  NO RESPONSE

3/19/18 – In the American Spectator today: “A new study reveals that 21,904 Americans have died while withering away on Medicaid waiting lists in states that expanded the program under Obamacare. The victims were poor and disabled applicants herded to the back of the line to make room for able-bodied adults with incomes above the federal poverty level (FPL). Why would any state pursue such a cruel and unjust policy?”  NO RESPONSE

3/9/18 – With so many doctors leaving practice because of Obamacare, and others rejecting Medicaid patients, what makes you think these additional 400,000 patients will even be able to see a doctor?  NO RESPONSE

3/8/18 – How can you justify using the budget process for such major legislation?  Mike Thompson wrote in an article published yesterday in the Jefferson Policy Journal, “Expansion of Medicaid should be debated, experts brought into serious committee hearings, public debates hosted by various organizations, votes taken by the House and the Senate on their individual bills, and differences hammered out in a conference committee. The House agreed to this four short years ago.” NO RESPONSE

3/7/18 – How can you push Medicaid expansion when you don’t know whether the federal government will let Virginia terminate the program if it doesn’t work out?  There were opinions from think tanks early on that getting out of Medicaid expansion would not be legally possible.  Those fears were reinforced just this week when, nine months after the request was first made, CMS refused to allow Arkansas to return its expanded Medicaid eligibility back to 100% of FPL.  With Arkansas’ request put on hold, there is not a single instance of a state successfully getting out of Medicaid expansion.  What happens if federal funding dries up and Washington won’t let Virginia out of the program?  What happens to Virginia’s budget then, Del. Jones?  Can you think of a bigger disaster?  NO RESPONSE

3/6/18 – Stress Tests – Every single Medicaid expansion state has exceeded their enrollment projections by an average 110%, more than DOUBLE.  Where are the stress tests, i.e., the studies that show what happens to state expenditures in Virginia if enrollment doubles past expectations here?  If no such studies exist, how can you in good conscience push expansion without knowing what will happen to the state budget if your numbers are way off?  What programs will you cut and what taxes will you raise if Medicaid expansion explodes here in Virginia like it has everywhere else?  NO RESPONSE

3/5/18 – Exploding Enrollment – Every single Medicaid expansion state has exceeded their enrollment projections by an average 110%, more than DOUBLE.  How do you know the same thing won’t happen in Virginia?  NO RESPONSE

3/2/18   – Why is it a good idea to change Medicaid from a poverty program into a middle class entitlement?  NO RESPONSE



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