In the General Assembly, there has been a long standing debate over whether Virginia should accept the “Obamacare” program where poor people who are of working age (19-64) should get free medical insurance via Medicaid. The Federal Government is going to pay 90% of the bill. Generally speaking, Democrats wanted to accept it and Republicans did not. Democrats argued that it would be a nice thing to do and that the Federal Government is going to pay 90%. Republicans, including me, (1) Pointed out that already all poor people who are 18 and under, 64 and older, disabled or pregnant already get Medicaid, (2) Agreed that it would be a nice thing to do, but (3) Argued that we cannot afford it. We pointed out that if Virginia expanded Medicaid to include all poor people ages 19-64, just Virginia’s 10% share would cost $320 million per year. And with Medicaid costs rising, in 10 years we would expect it to rise to $720 million/yr.
Here is an article to show you that our fears of rising Medicaid costs were not unfounded: http://www.richmond.com/opinion/our-opinion/article_bb21ce3b-5a13-5478-b9c4-016caf41cb17.html