by Del. Margaret Ransone
On June 30, the General Assembly passed a budget expanding Medicaid. This budget allocates the most spending I have seen since taking office. I am disappointed to see irresponsible spending of our tax dollars and could not support this budget.
There are good things in this budget, such as increased broadband funding for rural areas, additional funding for school safety and pay raises for educators, law enforcement and other state employees. However, these funds must be sustainable. I believe there will be negative consequences for working Virginians due to this budget passage.
The federal government warned Virginia they are trying to eliminate funding for Medicaid Expansion and reform healthcare. The Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission studied Virginia’s Medicaid program and found several serious issues. JLARC found that Virginia’s Medicaid spending has increased 76% in the last decade and accounts for 26% of all spending growth in Virginia.
The budget I voted against expanded a rapidly growing program in dire need of reform. Expanding a broken program will only exacerbate these issues and deprive those currently enrolled in Medicaid of needed resources. Virginians currently enrolled in our Medicaid program are those with disabilities, single mothers and children. These are our neighbors who can least afford to be crowded out by nonworking, able-bodied adults.
This budget is not reforming healthcare. This budget makes healthcare worse by enabling the Affordable Care Act. The only way for this program to work long-term is through additional taxes, or by cutting spending to key priorities, such as education, public safety and transportation. This is unacceptable. I would never abandon our values by irresponsibly spending your tax dollars in such a manner.