Del. Landes Delivers Weekly Virginia GOP Address

HouseGOP2014 General Assembly Session

Hello, I am Steve Landes. I have the honor of representing Virginia’s 25th district in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley and Central Virginia.”

“This weekend, Virginia will swear in a new Governor, Lt. Governor and Attorney General – all Democrats. On Monday, Governor Terry McAuliffe will deliver remarks to a joint session of the General Assembly.”

“There is no doubt that Governor McAuliffe will dedicate a large portion of his speech Monday to the idea of bringing President Obama’s Medicaid Expansion to Virginia. This was a big issue in the 2013 campaigns and I have no doubt it will be at the forefront of the discussion during this General Assembly session.”

“As Vice-Chairman of the Medicaid Innovation and Reform Commission, I have worked closely on a number of Medicaid reforms the General Assembly authorized last year. I have watched, like many Americans, in shock at the failures of the Obama administration when it comes to the new health care law. I have been disappointed by the rising premiums, cancelled health plans and decreased access to health care under ObamaCare.”

“ObamaCare has proven that government-run healthcare programs don’t “work” well, if they ‘work’ at all.”

“That’s one of the main reasons I remain opposed to Medicaid Expansion. Medicaid expansion is a key part of ObamaCare. And it would be irresponsible to entangle Virginia in Washington’s health care mess.”

“Separate from ObamaCare, Medicaid is in need of serious reforms. Costs are out of control, Medicaid patients aren’t receiving the care they need and the program is full of waste, fraud and abuse.”

“Medicaid spending in Virginia has grown 1,600 percent in the last 30 years. Medicaid now consumes 22 percent of the state’s general fund spending and threatens to crowd out other key services like Education and public safety. We must make reforms to Medicaid to bend the cost curve for both the state and health care providers.”

“Nearly 1/3 of doctors now refuse to see Medicaid patients due to low reimbursement rates. This has led to decreased access and lower quality care for Medicaid patients. A new study shows that emergency room visits have increased under Obamacare. This is unacceptable. The working mothers and children who rely on Medicaid deserve high quality health care, not a broken promise from a broken system.”

“Finally, Medicaid is fraught with waste, fraud and abuse. Secretary of Health and Human Services Bill Hazel recently told the General Assembly that about 15 percent of health care spending in Virginia is waste. Attorney General Cuccinelli has recovered nearly $200 million in Medicaid fraud settlements in the last year.”

“To me, making a broken program BIGGER doesn’t seem like the best idea.”

“The key argument for Democrats on Medicaid expansion is the false promise of free money from Washington. I have been around long enough to know there’s no such thing as free money, and there’s no such thing as a no-strings attached promise from Washington.”

“With our nation $17 trillion in debt and facing massive deficits every year, the federal government simply cannot afford to pay 100% of the cost of expansion. The truth is that Virginia will eventually get stuck with the bill – likely over $1 billion per year.”

“That’s why Virginia cannot and should not expand Medicaid.”

“Democrats often accuse Republicans of being the party of no. But that’s not true.”

“Instead of just saying no, we are working on an alternative to Medicaid expansion that would address the coverage gap created by ObamaCare with a conservative, market-based solution.”

“Let me be clear – this would not be Medicaid expansion by a different name. Nor would it be Medicaid expansion lite. We want to craft a conservative, market-based alternative to Medicaid expansion that addresses a targeted need in Virginia.”

“Recently, Speaker Howell outlined three broad parameters for this alternative plan.”

“First, it should not rely on federal dollars that entangle Virginia in Washington’s health care mess. Taking federal money simply puts Virginia on the hook when the federal government backs out.”

“Second, it should provide targeted coverage to those who truly need it without growing the size of government. Medicaid is meant to serve the truly needed – the working poor, single moms and children. An alternative plan should help those who need it the most.”

“Finally, it should be based on principles utilized in the private market. The plan should emphasize cost sharing, health and wellness and competition. These principles keep costs down and improve the quality of care.”

“Governor McAuliffe and his allies will make a big push for Medicaid expansion, but Expanding Medicaid without considering the consequences and without exploring other options would be contrary to Virginia’s traditionally conservative approach to budgeting.”

“Medicaid expansion is going to be a big issue this year. Lawmakers need to hear from you. I would encourage you to reach out to your Delegate and Senator and share your thoughts on Medicaid expansion and reforms.”

“Thank you for watching.”