Justin Higgins at JHPolitics has raised the red flag about Senate Democrats (and some Republicans) trying to push through Obamacare via state exchanges that will put tax payers on the line for a program that may show little gains:
Medicaid expansion would be a massive unfunded mandate, crippling the Commonwealth’s budget when federal funding inevitably dries up. The Republican-led House of Delegates is vehemently opposed, but the Senate Democrats (with the help of some Republicans), is out with a “new” solution:
The House’s version rejected calls from Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe to expand Medicaid eligibility to about 400,000 residents. The Senate’s budget would have the same basic outcome of expanding Medicaid eligibility – more lower-income residents would receive publicly funded health insurance, but proponents of the chamber’s plan say its emphasis on creating a marketplace for private insurance is a key difference.
“We reject Medicaid expansion in favor a Virginia solution – private insurance that we refer to as ‘Marketplace Virginia,” said Sen. Walter Stosch, a Republican from Henrico and co-chair of the Senate Finance Committee.
Virginia’s current Medicaid program already has a significant private component – many people can choose between publicly funded private insurers known as Managed Care Organizations. Republicans in the House have scoffed at the Senate’s plan as Medicaid expansion by another name.
The ‘Marketplace Virginia’ plan is still Obamacare, reliant upon federal funds which aren’t guaranteed in perpetuity. It’s actually worse, putting Virginians on the line for the subsidies currently available to many middle class people under the federal exchanges. If the federal government’s money gets cut off, a very possible scenario in the future as national leaders wrangle over Obamacare and the debt, Virginia would still need to pony up for the subsidies.
The argument against expanding Medicaid should apply here as well – it’s an unfunded mandate that has no guarantee of federal subsidy and would leave Virginia taxpayers on the hook for millions every year. But this is even worse – it does nothing to address the thousands of Virginians who barely fail to qualify for Medicaid but can’t afford to purchase insurance on this eventual exchange. So you’re either shouting “let them eat cake” when everyone agrees that health care (and coverage) reform isn’t necessarily a bad thing, especially for the poor, or you’re starting down the slippery slope that says, look, if you’re going to implement this flawed, disastrous piece of legislation for the middle class you have to do it for everyone else. And we all go further down the drain.
This needs to be called out for what it is, and Senate Republicans need to be taken to task for kow-towing to Democrats who have shown absolutely no intention on working with Republicans on anything other than their own Liberal agenda.