Jobs are a critical issue in Virginia now. Employment opportunities are growing slower than the working age population, leaving an increasing employment deficit already larger than the national average. The good news is there’s a way to significantly add jobs at a very low cost: expand Medicaid.
Medicaid expansion will bring billions in federal payments annually, creating 30,000 or more jobs to serve approximately 400,000 eligible low-income residents. The federal subsidy, 100 percent in the initial years, gradually declining to 90 percent, lifts a huge burden off the state budget for emergency care and other health costs. As a result, its estimated expansion would essentially pay for itself in Virginia through 2022. Afterward, we’d still benefit from the added employment.
Blocking Medicaid expansion is plain economic obstruction. Billions in federal tax payments will leave the state annually, prevented from returning. We’ll forgo the new jobs and revenues that go with them, yet remain burdened with increasing indigent emergency care costs. We’ll continue to ignore basic health care for low-income Virginians, including many of our hardest working, resulting in hundreds of preventable deaths annually.
Every day, our political obstruction costs millions of dollars and lives that can’t be recovered. It’s a huge price tag for politics as usual in the commonwealth.
Jim Lindsay. Arlington.