By Pete Snyder, Candidate for Lt. Governor
In all my years as a private sector job-creator, I’ve never encountered such a thing as “free money.” Yet career politicians in Washington and Richmond are right now asking Virginians to suspend common sense and believe in just that.
President Obama is offering Richmond politicians billions of “free” federal tax dollars as a sweetener if they’ll go along with his plans to expand Medicaid under ObamaCare.
Before they take the bait, Richmond political insiders should remember that when it comes to “free money,” there are always strings attached to every last dime, especially when it’s coming from Washington. It would be totally wrong and irresponsible for Virginia to fall for this Big Government bait-and-switch.
I drill into the facts in a new video (below), but here are a couple of highlights — or should I say ‘low-lights’ — to keep in mind:
Simply put, Medicaid expansion is a ticking time bomb for hard working Virginia taxpayers. The conservative Heritage Foundation released a study yesterday showing that, under this plan, the costs to Virginia taxpayers would skyrocket by over $900 million [edited] in less than ten years, once the “free” federal money dries up.
I’ve been blessed to launch and lead two businesses in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and as a real-world CEO, I can tell you that no private sector business would ever enter into such an agreement — at least not if they planned to be solvent in ten years.
But beyond the fiscal crisis it would create, expanding Medicaid under ObamaCare would also push hundreds of thousands of Virginians into a government-run health care program that we all know is badly broken and in need of serious reforms.
As it stands, Medicaid’s immense price includes a very real and tragic human cost: all too often it actually harms the very people it is meant to help. But don’t take my word for it — a study by the University of Virginia pulls back the curtain on Medicaid’s tragically bad outcomes, including “increased risk of adjusted mortality,” or as one report summarizes, “surgical patients on Medicaid are 13% more likely to die than those with no insurance at all, and 97% more likely to die than those with private insurance.”
This is unacceptable, and nothing in the Obama health care law allows states like Virginia the flexibility to address this crisis or make Medicaid work better at all.
Without serious and significant changes in the Medicaid program, politicians in Richmond, in partnership with politicians in Washington, would simply be shoveling more low-income Virginians into a disastrously flawed system that all too often causes more harm to our most vulnerable families and costs taxpayers dearly.
Conservatives have better ideas for reforming our health care system, and it’s our job to demonstrate that we can solve our problems not just by throwing more of our money at them, but by starting with a clean slate and applying conservative, limited-government principles to our Commonwealth’s biggest issues.
To that end, we must continue to fight at every opportunity for policies that preserve liberty and expand access to quality health care by lowering costs; that is the right path for our future. Embracing one of ObamaCare’s worst ideas by doubling down on a Big Government entitlement program that too often hurts the people it’s intended to help? That’s the broken politics of the past, and it’s the wrong way forward for Virginia and America.
Pete Snyder is a technology entrepreneur & conservative seeking the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor. His campaign can be found at PeteSnyder.com.