Bolling embraces expanding Medicaid

In a move that perhaps fits with his vision of being a new and liberated voice, Lt. Gov. Bolling has issued a press release in which he urges the General Assembly to accept the inevitable and expand Medicaid:

When the Supreme Court first gave states the ability to opt out of Medicaid expansion, I expressed my belief that the Commonwealth should not move forward with expansion until two conditions were met. First, we had to make certain that Virginia could afford its share of the costs of the proposed expansion; and second, we wanted to achieve fundamental reforms in the way Medicaid operates to make the program more effective and efficient. That remains my position. However, in recent months we have developed a more complete picture of the overall business case for Medicaid reform and expansion, and I believe the mounting evidence supports moving forward with expansion, subject to our ability to obtain acceptable waivers from the federal government to implement critical Medicaid reforms.”

The entire letter Bolling sent to the legislative leadership can be found here. It’s rather interesting reading, particularly when compared with the concerns Gov. McDonnell voiced back in July, when he asked the Obama administration a series of questions regarding how Medicaid expansion would work and how it would be paid for:

Mr. McDonnell characterized the growth of Medicaid in the state’s budget as “an unsustainable trajectory that demands improvement and greater efficiency.” Medicaid spending has grown 1,600 percent over the past three decades, and the program now comprises about one-fifth of the state budget.

A 2010 estimate showed that the Medicaid expansion would cost Virginia $2.2 billion starting in 2014, but Mr. McDonnell wrote that the Department of Medical Assistance Services is currently updating that projection.

Mr. Bolling, it would seem, believes those costs can be covered if the state is able to wrangle a deal with Washington. Good luck with that. He also believes that since Virginians will be forced to pay the taxes that underwrite Medicaid’s expansion, failing to get our share isn’t prudent:

“If we do not move forward with the proposed expansion of coverage Virginians will still be required to pay these taxes and fees, but they will receive no benefits from the program. That hardly seems wise or fair.”

What’s neither wise nor fair is expanding a program that is not only bankrupt, but threatens Virginia’s, and the nation’s, solvency.

A couple of months ago, such a policy position would have left me speechless. Now I just have to shake my head and laugh.

  • Mike Barrett

    Well Norm, it seems as if your opposition to medicaid is not fiscally based by ideologically based. You say…”What’s neither wise nor fair is expanding a program that is not only bankrupt, but threatens Virginia’s, and the nation’s, solvency.” First, it is not backrupt nor does it threaten the nation’s solvency unless of course republicans refuse to support it. Sure, your standard tactics a la Norquist is to “starve the beast” and then claim the program is broke. How many times have we heard that from republicans? It is not even news anymore. We can’t build new roads ’cause we’re broke. We can’t improve K-12 schools ’cause we’re broke. We can’t raise tuitions ’cause we’re brook. Well, we are broke because you have an intentional policy of new taxes which does not serve this Commonwealth well.

  • No surprise that as soon as these establishment flacks get ‘liberated’, they turn into Mike Bloomberg. And some wonder why we are so cynical and skeptical about candidates these days!

  • Mike Barrett

    Fairly amazing that Bill Bolling, a republican, is getting flack from his own party because he has made the business case for the State’s support of medicaid. It used to be be that republicans were the party of business, that first and foremost they based their political judgement on analyzing the cost benefits of programs and on the fiscal impact of programs on the Commonwealth. Of course, now, ideologues run the Party apparatus, and financial analysis has taken a back seat to political considerations of the far right. Their preferences have resulted in one of the most stingiest medicaid programs in the nation, and now they are hell bend on making it stingier and more expense at the same time.
    Bolling is sounding more and more like a real republican who has a fundamental understanding that the public and private sectors are partners in creating prosperity, not mortal enemies. In fact, he is sounding like the new Virginia. Who is that other guy?

  • EricMcGrane

    Hurry! All GOP establishment folks scurry to get behind our GOP LT Governor to show support for this! After all, we’re all supposed to unite behind our GOP betters.


    Because you must be a hateful, radical tea party extremist to oppose expansion of Medicare. FALL IN LINE!

    (yes, I’m a sarcastic bastard, and its totally warranted)

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