Despite all the promises, Obamacare hasn’t improved U.S. healthcare.
In fact, many families’ premiums are higher than ever before.
Now another wrench in the works may spell disaster.
Medicaid Spending Blows Past Projections
When Medicaid Expansion — the final piece of Obamacare that Virginia had so far resisted –- was pushed through the General Assembly earlier this year, those who championed the expansion pledged that 400,000 Virginians would be covered under the new entitlement.
The latest estimates released from Richmond paint a very different picture.
Medicaid Expansion is looking to draw in tens — and perhaps hundreds — of thousands more people than initially estimated.
The General Assembly had estimated 400,000 Virginians would be enrolling in Medicaid by July 2020 under the Obamacare expansion provisions passed this year.
This number was touted not only by Democratic Governor Ralph Northam, but Republican Speaker Kirk Cox and nearly 20 other Republicans in the legislature who backed Democrats to push through the expansion at the end of the 2018 legislative session.
The real enrollment number is looking to be upwards of 500,000 people.
Far beyond what had been promised, this will likely leave millions of Virginia taxpayers on the hook.
Medicaid Already Over-Budget
All of this points to another round of budget-busting overruns for Virginia’s Medicaid program.
But none of the expanded enrollment projections even consider the fact that Medicaid is already running 460 million dollars over budget here in Virginia.
In a matter of days, the General Assembly will have to convene and fill a 460 million dollar hole in our state budget to address the shortfall.
With Richmond unable to even get the numbers right for the regular Medicaid program, the stage is set for a fiscal disaster to take place under the new Obamacare expansion.
Of course, it is yet to be seen whether or not Medicaid can even continue to operate on its current trajectory.
There have been growing hints from Washington that the Federal government will be unable to keep its end of the bargain to fund state Medicaid programs.
If (or more accurately when) that happens, Virginia and other states who have expanded Medicaid could be in for a fiscal calamity.
Will GOP Moderates Pay a Political Price in 2019?
The political question in all of this is whether or not House Speaker Kirk Cox and those in his caucus who backed Obamacare’s Medicaid Expansion will pay any political price for doing so in the Republican Primaries coming up in June.
When Republicans nearly lost the House of Delegates in the 2017 elections, many accurately assumed Democrats would be able to get several of their key agenda items through the legislature.
But several moderate Republicans who voted to support the Medicaid expansion — along with taxpayer funding for abortion providers like Planned Parenthood — are now facing challenges on both the left and right.
Delegates Chris Peace, Scott Garrett, and Bob Thomas are already facing grassroots backlash in their own districts, which may impact their actions this coming session, as well as their re-election bids.
And along with these delegates and 16 others, the four Republican Senators who backed the expansion, Jill Vogel, Emmett Hanger, Frank Wagner, and Ben Chafin, will be in the hot seat in a matter of days.
Thomas already has a primary challenger, as well as a Democrat opponent.
Vogel became one of the first Senate Republicans to find a Democratic challenger as well, despite her vote in support of Medicaid expansion.
Challengers in both the primary and general could pop up for others as well as the legislature gavels itself into session next month.
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