23 GOP Virginia Legislators Voted for Medicaid Expansion, Abandoning GOP Principles – But Will Voters Still Reelect Them in 2019?

Only time will tell if the argument that passing a budget with Medicaid expansion with a work requirement will create jobs, maximize coverage, and provide better quality care. It would be wise for all to see if those promises are upheld. Regardless of whether they happen or not, it shows to conservatives that there is a very clear group of Republicans who are nowhere near to being conservative.

The Republican Creed is pretty straightforward when it says “that the free enterprise system is the most productive supplier of human needs and economic justice” and “That fiscal responsibility and budgetary restraints must be exercised at all levels of government.”

The free enterprise was not upheld. This budget is not likely to adequately address human need. And the $115.8 billion spending plan is nowhere near taking into account budgetary restraint – especially when relying on a federal government with a $21T debt to pick up a chunk of the price tag.

While some will argue that there is a conservative element that allowed them to hold their noses and vote for the bill because of a work requirement, that’s only going to be effective for so long. Right now the economy is chucking along at what appears to be the natural rate of unemployment, so assuming a person has to be working poor seems reasonable. But what happens when we go through another recession and the stories of layoffs and sick kids once again pull at the heartstrings? We all know that liberals will insist that work requirement is rescinded.

Let’s call this what it is: A profit windfall for an existing monopoly. For-profit hospitals expect to rake in $1 billion under this bait-and-switch. Meanwhile, rest assured the $600 million bed tax is going to be passed along to the consumer.

And with the federal government debating how much it will kick in, this is a recipe for disaster for other programs we legitimately expect the government to pay for, like public safety, education, and transportation.

“Medicaid is already the fastest-growing expense of state government.  In just 10 years, it has grown from 14% of Virginia’s general fund expenditures to 23%, where it is currently.  Since the general fund also pays for core government services like schools and public safety, Medicaid is continuing to crowd out funding for those other services,” wrote Senator Bryce Reeves in his weekly newsletter.

How does any of this sound like budgetary restraint at all?

Democrats seem to have figured out how to keep their members united – and even find ways to pass the impossible when they’re not in power. The GOP continues to flounder, with some of its members living in fantasy land. Completely toothless, the party most likely lacks the moral courage to even sanction the members who voted for this monstrosity.

Instead, these elected officials have willfully disregarded core principles for political expediency and incumbent protection. The only question remains is whether they will be rewarded with a return to service in 2019.

State Senate (members)
Senator Ben Chafin, Senator Jill Vogel, Senator Frank Wagner, and Senator Emmett Hanger

House of Delegates (members)
Speaker Kirk Cox, Del. Chris Jones, Del. Terry Austin, Del. Robert Bloxom, Del. Glenn Davis, Del. James Edmunds, Del. Scott Garrett, Del. Gordon Helsel, Del. Keith Hodges, Del. Riley Ingram, Del. Terry Kilgore, Del. Barry Knight, Del. Danny Marshall, Del. James Morefield, Del. Chris Peace, Del. Todd Pillon, Del. Chris Stolle, Del. Bob Thomas, and Del. David Yancey

HB 5002 Vote