So much for our “victory” on the Medicaid expansion this year. Today, the Governor released a letter to Secretary Sebelius which stated that reports of Virginia’s embrace of Medicaid expansion are very much mistaken.
A couple quick observations:
Obviously the Governor is feeling persona non grata in certain circles for the taxes embedded in the transportation bill. (So far the only real cheerleader for that cluster is the editorial page of the Washington Post). So the Medicaid stonewall represents an easy political posture which harms a population that generally doesn’t vote.
Second, the Democratic self-congratulation on this issue at the end of the session was premature. In reality, the Governor only committed to appointing a commission on Medicaid. He never committed to actual expansion. As the leader of the executive branch, he has virtually unfettered discretion to delay the extension of benefits to 400,000 Virginians — even if it costs Virginia $5 million a day.
It’s a shame. There is zero benefit to Virginia from holding back on Medicaid. Our Federal taxes will merely get shifted to other states. How stupid is that?