Medicaid Expansion a Ruse

I read an editorial in the local paper last month here http://hamptonroads.com/2014/05/millions-reasons-expand-medicaid

and my response was published here http://hamptonroads.com/2014/05/medicaid-expansion-ruse

Here is the unedited version of my letter to the Editor as I submitted it:

MONEY LAUNDERING

The editorial board of the Virginian Pilot is once again spreading propaganda in an editorial that presents a false either-or choice to your readers on yet another wealth distribution scheme. Your editorial is also surprisingly cavalier about the reality that the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and its accompanying agenda on Medicaid expansion is, in fact, a wealth redistribution scheme funded by a large tax increase. I applaud that you finally acknowledge the ACA for what it is, albeit after years’ worth of contradictory editorials that shielded your readers from this reality in order to garner support for Obama and his ACA.

The message in this Medicaid editorial reads that under a federal law, you’ll be paying $10 billion in new Federal taxes through the next five years, so State Republicans need to support Virginia’s expansion of Medicaid so that tax money can be recycled back to the State. Your flawed premise assumes that all laws, regulations, and taxpayer behaviors will remain static during the next five years and speciously equates the acceptance of federal dollars to a savings for Virginia, as if our tax dollars somehow belonged to Virginia and her poor uninsured residents to begin with, and not to the residents who work to earn the money as income. There’s also an element of “you’ll be paying the tax money anyway, so why not have it benefit Virginia.” The false choice you present is whether we want speculative tax money to go to the feds versus the state.

Who’s guaranteeing that we taxpayers will actually pay $10 billion in new Federal taxes during this time and how does our payment of Federal taxes justify a subsequent claim to that money by Virginia? Who’s guaranteeing that President Obama won’t unilaterally change the Affordable Care Act like he’s done in circumvention of Congress numerous times already? What would be Virginia’s budgetary contingency plan should the feds fail on their funding commitment? And what would Virginia do if we continued experiencing annual budget shortfalls even after receiving kickback money from the fed? The real choice we have is whether we even want to pay the additional Federal tax in the first place, and we can own that choice by changing our financial behavior and/or congressional representation this November. Your editorial reeks that we need to expand Medicaid now now now while we can, conceding to the reality that you’re presenting said false choice.

State Republicans are prudent in supporting a budget absent this “contingent” federal funding and are astutely identifying yet another significant flaw within the ACA. I’d hardly call skepticism towards contingent funding a “pretense” of fiscal conservatism in light of the many instabilities evident within the Obama administration and his proclivity for making changes to Obamacare. Your editorial describes such prudence as a “foolhardy” view yet you don’t support your assertion with anything relevant, other than stating “other Republicans are supporting efforts to recapture federal tax dollars”, implying that we need to get on board simply because everyone else is. It’s not too far a stretch to see there’s a risk to the ACA standing as law following the next election cycle and we should not be building a new Medicaid program until our political climate shows signs of sanity and stability. The fact that your editorial goes out of its way to avoid naming the $10 billion federal tax law as one of the many tax increases embedded in the ACA itself further asserts that the prudent thing to do is wait.

Your promotion of false choices based on flawed premises do a great disservice to this community.

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