Day 23 of Gov. McAuliffe’s Obamacare budget impasse


Today is day 23 of Governor Terry McAuliffe’s Obamacare budget impasse.

In his effort to sell Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion to the people of Virginia, Governor McAuliffe has been touting how much money Virginia could save by expanding Medicaid. The Governor has said repeatedly that Virginia will save over $1 billion by expanding Medicaid.

Turns out, that’s only half true at best.

McAuliffe says Virginia will save $1 billion if the General Assembly expands eligibility for MedicaId. But the analysis he cites says the state will save $420 million of that sum, regardless of whether it broadens Medicare, from other provisions in Obamacare.

The research concludes that $601 million in savings over the next eight years are riding on the legislature’s decision.

So McAuliffe is right that there’s a lot of expansion money on the table, but he exaggerates how much. We rate his claim Half True.

President Barack Obama sold the Affordable Care Act to the American public on half-truths and false promises. Now, Governor McAuliffe is trying to do the same with Medicaid expansion.

The thought that Virginia can save money by expanding a rapidly-growing entitlement program defies logic. Medicaid has grown by 1600 percent over the last 30 years. It currently consumes over 20 percent of state general fund spending and nearly 40 percent of all new revenue.

Further, history shows that entitlement programs usually always outpace their original cost projections.

Medicare was originally projected to cost $12 billion annually in 1990. In 1990, Medicare actually cost $110 billion. Today it’s over $500 billion. The original first year cost estimate for Medicaid was $238 million. The actual first year cost was over $1 billion. Medicare Part A was originally projected to cost $9 billion in 1992. The actual cost was $67 billion. The Medicare home care benefit program was originally projected to cost $4 billion in 1988. It actually cost $10 billion.

When it comes to entitlement spending, history and experience are the arbiters of truth. Medicaid expansion will not pass the test.