AFP-VA Encouraged by Northam’s Comments on Medicaid Expansion

Dec 19, 2017 by AFP

Grassroots organization hopes action matches rhetoric

RICHMOND, VA – Americans for Prosperity-Virginia (AFP-VA) today cautiously applauded comments made by Governor-elect Northam on the need for bipartisanship and prudence when addressing Medicaid expansion. In a recently-published interview with the Washington Post, Northam claimed he must be careful about obligating the state to escalating costs. States that have already expanded Medicaid have experienced rising costs and a lower quality of care.

“We’re encouraged by Governor-elect Northam’s comments on Medicaid expansion and hope that his actions match his rhetoric. We spent the summer and fall telling Virginians why Ralph was wrong on the issues, but we must commend him when he is right,” said AFP-VA State Director JC Hernandez. “Medicaid expansion would explode our budget at a time we should be more focused on providing better health, for more people, at a lower cost. We hope Northam follows through with these comments and urge him to continue this measured approach to Medicaid and other issues that have significant fiscal impacts on the state.”

Background:

Americans for Prosperity has long opposed the expansion of Medicaid under Obamacare. Medicaid was intended to help just the most vulnerable Americans like the elderly and the disabled, but its expansion to able-bodied, childless, working-age adults would create an unsustainable burden on taxpayers and crowd out resources for those truly needy populations. Virginia should not expand Medicaid but rather pursue supply-side reforms that increase the supply and quality and decrease the cost of healthcare.

States that have expanded Medicaid have experienced exploding costs and general failure:

  • Ohio: National Review published an article highlighting Medicaid Expansion failure in Ohio.

    • “Ohio’s Medicaid-expansion enrollment was 720,000 in fiscal year 2017, at an average cost of $437 million per month. Since January 2014, the expansion has cost state and federal taxpayers a total of $14.9 billion. Because Kasich so dramatically underestimated enrollment, state costs have already doubled his projections. Federal spending on Ohio’s Medicaid program (including traditional and expansion enrollees) increased by 48 percent from 2013 to this year, while state spending increased by 14 percent.” (Jason Hart, “Why John Kasich Is Fighting the New Health-Care Bill,” National Review, 9/19/17)
  • Massachusetts: Modern Healthcare published an article highlighting Massachusetts’ struggle to cover the rising costs of Medicaid expansion:

    • “As the federal government no longer covers the total cost of expansion, Massachusetts said it needs to slim down the program because the costs are unsustainable.”

    • “At 40% of the commonwealth’s budget, MassHealth’s continued growth will constrain the state budget unless significant reforms are implemented and key aspects of the program are restructured,” Marylou Sudders, the state’s health and human services secretary, said in a Sept. 20 letter to CMS Administrator Seema Verma.” (Virgil Dickson, “Massachusetts seeks to move adults off Medicaid, limit drug coverage,” Modern Healthcare, 9/27/17)

Additionally, expanding Medicaid at a time Congress might cut federal funding for the program risks leaving Virginia taxpayers on the hook:

  • “Ryan said he’s optimistic, adding that Republicans could target the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid next year in addition to Medicare, despite their failure to repeal the health care law in 2017. ‘What it is we really need to convert our health care system to a patient-centered system, so we have more choices and more competition. Choice and competition brings down prices and improves quality; government-run health care is the opposite of that,” Ryan said. “So I think these reforms that we’ve been talking about, that we’re still going to keep pushing, that will help not just make Medicaid less expensive … but it will help Medicare as well.’” (Jeff Stein, “Ryan Says Republicans To Target Welfare, Medicare, Medicaid Spending In 2018,” The Washington Post’s Wonkblog, 12/06/17)

  • “At some point, that will have to be paid for, and top Republican lawmakers, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., have indicated they plan to take a hard look at welfare spending and other safety net programs for potential trimming.” (Heather Long, “How The GOP Tax Cut Could Take Money Away From Most Americans,” Chicago Tribune, 12/08/17)

 

For further information or an interview, reach Lorenz Isidro at LIsidro@afphq.org or (703) 887-7724. 

Americans for Prosperity (AFP) exists to recruit, educate, and mobilize citizens in support of the policies and goals of a free society at the local, state, and federal level, helping every American live their dream – especially the least fortunate. AFP has more than 3.2 million activists across the nation, a local infrastructure that includes 36 state chapters, and has received financial support from more than 100,000 Americans in all 50 states. For more information, visit www.AmericansForProsperity.org

###