How’s that push to expand Medicaid going in Virginia?
posted at 1:01 pm on February 6, 2014 by Erika Johnsen
Desperately in need of Republican friends to get his agenda through a divided General Assembly, McAuliffe, a Democrat, has restocked the executive mansion bar and thrown open the doors for nightly receptions. In at least one case, he sniffed out just which craft beer a GOP bigwig likes and made sure to have it on hand.
“Sixty parties in 60 days!” McAuliffe has declared, referring to the length of the assembly session.
To the discount hooch and Bud Light normally on tap at the mansion, the governor has added top-shelf liquor and microbrews at his own expense — a move made possible by his personal wealth and made necessary by heightened scrutiny to mansion spending amid his predecessor’s gifts scandal. While appealing to the legislature’s more discriminating tipplers, McAuliffe has not forgotten the teetotalers: For them, he serves up daily breakfasts, picking up the private catering tab personally. …
But his nonstop entertaining has created the most buzz, in part because it feeds into the narrative that McAuliffe is Virginia’s schmoozer-in-chief. Whether his effort works or not remains to be seen.
I’m not necessarily knocking an executive making himself accessible and establishing personal relationships, but I’m just not quite sure that boozing-schmoozing alone is going to be enough to make a legitimate case for Medicaid expansion here. The Republican-led House of Delegates was rather unappreciative of McAuliffe’s suggestion that they abandon the bipartisan commission tasked with assessing the merits of expanding the program and simply hand the matter over to his executive behest by the end of the legislative session, and aren’t seeing any evidence from the governor’s office to convince them that expanding the program actually won’t end up being a fiscally unsustainable boondoggle in the long run.
McAuliffe and his critics invoked his entertaining this week in the midst of Republican complaints that the governor has been too short on policy specifics.
“I’ve never seen anyone so slow to get started” on legislation, House Majority Leader M. Kirkland Cox, R-Colonial Heights, had said in an interview with The Washington Post. “There seems to be an event over there every night. I’m not sure I’ve seen much else going on.” …
“This is like frat house governor,” said state Del. Robert Marshall, R-Prince William. “Clearly he’s trying to be friendly, but I’ll watch my wallet over there.”
The Obama administration considers Virginia “committed” to expanding Medicaid, but they might want to reexamine that as well as a few of their other Medicaid-related assumptions.
Just a fraction of the more than 6 million people the Obama administration has touted as being determined eligible for Medicaid under Obamacare are new enrollees, according to an independent study released Wednesday.
The new study, published by the health advisory company Avalere, estimates that between 1.1 and 1.8 million people are newly enrolled in Medicaid thanks to the Affordable Care Act over the final three months of 2013.
While federal officials have frequently cited increased Medicaid enrollment as an example of Obamacare’s success, they have been unable to report how many of those enrollees would have been eligible for the government program without the law’s expanded eligibility requirements.