Letter to the Editor Connection Newspapers

How to Pay for Medicaid Expansion?

Dear Editor:

Re: Letter (June 23, 2015): How to Pay for Medicaid Expansion? by Chris J. Krisinger, Colonel, USAF (Ret)

The concern expressed in the letter regarding Medicaid Expansion in Virginia focused on the 1) question of “how to pay for it” and 2) that those favoring expansion” do not discuss cost specifics.”

Mr. Krisinger would have readers believe that we in Virginia have not already paid for Medicaid expansion with our tax dollars, Virginia tax dollars that are now going to other states, states that have expanded Medicaid; and some of those states are led by Republican governors that have favored Medicaid expansion because they saw it as a good deal financially as well as a reasonable way of making health care accessible to so many of their working poor  —  400,000 in Virginia would benefit from the expansion.

With respect to the writer’s fiscal concerns, that issue has been addressed multiple times by The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (http://www.cbpp.org/research/health/medicaid-expansion-is-producing-large-gains-in-health-coverage-and-saving-states) and The Commonwealth Institute (http://www.thecommonwealthinstitute.org/research/health/).  The conclusion, which is documented by the numbers cited in the various reports, is this: “Medicaid Expansion is Producing Large Gains in Health Care and Saving States Money.”

The letter-writer’s fiscal concerns have already been essentially addressed, but opponents have apparently already made up their minds and have manifested little interest in the documentation provided. This documentation has been cited numerous times, and it is not reasonable to assume that Delegate Ken Plum, a delegate re-elected multiple times that takes seriously his fiduciary responsibilities, and other legislators in solidarity with him have not looked at the numbers before advocating for the expansion of Medicaid

Dr. Paul Krugman, an economics professor at Princeton and the winner of the Nobel Prize for Economics in 2008, recently asked this question: "But why would any state choose to exercise that option (not expand Medicaid)? After all, states were being offered a federally-funded program (a program already paid for by taxpayers) that would provide major benefits to millions of their citizens, pour billions into their economies, and help support their health-care providers. Who would turn down such an offer?”

It is the same question many of us in Virginia have been asking and have not received any satisfying answers from the Republican legislators that dominate the Virginia House and Senate.

Regards,

John Horejsi and SALT’s 1200 advocates
SALT Coordinator
9610 Counsellor Dr.
Vienna, VA 22181
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