Response to Delegate Scott Lingamfelter by Meghan Czaikoski

Dear Editor:

Regarding “State GOP Stood on Principle” by Virginia Delegate L. Scott Lingamfelter (R-Dist. 31), Fairfax County Times, 08/01/2014 to 08/03/2014.

As a constituent, I question not the sincerity but the wisdom of Virginia Delegate Scott Lingamfelter’s position regarding the state budget. The Delegate is proud of the fact that “we have a budget — one that does not expand Obamacare in Virginia.” He believes that he and like-minded legislators acted wisely.  I disagree.

What is the wisdom of excluding 400,000 Virginians, primarily working poor Virginians, from health care coverage by refusing to expand Medicaid, especially when the costs of the expansion are zero state dollars (100% federal funding for 2014 through 2016), gradually changing to 10% state funding and 90% federal match by 2020 and subsequent years for newly eligible enrollees?

What is the wisdom of leaving “$5 million [daily] in federal funds unclaimed” (Washington Post editorial 03/06/2014)?  The editorial also notes, “It has also passed up another $32 million so far this year (as of early March) in lost savings, as well as tax revenues, that would be generated by the creation of some 20,000 health-care jobs.”

Delegate Lingamfelter argues that Virginia legislators are now responsible for exercising Federal fiscal responsibility if the feds will not. However, as the Post editorial noted:
“… if Washington does renege, Virginia would have the option of dropping coverage and trimming its Medicaid rolls, as it has done in the past.”

By extension, Lingamfelter’s argument would expand to insist that Virginia should accept NO federal grants for ANY program—not education, not transportation, not Medicaid, not TANF, because of the national debt and future inability to pay.

Aside from the financial consideration, is there not a moral perspective —a perspective derived from conventional community standards rooted in ethical principles--being overlooked by Lingamfelter and other legislators?  We are our brothers’ keepers, and I think we can all agree that budgets are moral documents.   

Lingamfelter and his like-minded colleagues in the Virginia House have, unfortunately, acted unwisely from both the fiduciary perspective as well as the moral perspective. The citizens of Virginia have not been well served.

Sincerely,

Meghan Czaikoski