Medicaid expansion is the right thing to do, despite Ken Cuccinelli’s claims in his Op/Ed column, “Medicaid expansion is wrong for Virginia.” Cuccinelli claims that if Medicaid is expanded under Obamacare to provide care for an additional 420,000 Virginians, there will be “an explosion of un-policed fraud.” There are many flaws in his reasoning, but I want to address two.
First, Cuccinelli claims more Medicaid recipients equals more Medicaid fraud. But most fraud is committed not by recipients but by providers — the people who bill Medicaid for their services. Who committed the biggest Medicaid fraud in Virginia? Abbott Labs. And our Medicaid Fraud Control Unit caught them and recovered our tax money last fiscal year. Medicaid expansion won’t increase the number of pharmaceutical companies. And it’s not like currently law-abiding companies and health professionals out there are just waiting for policing resources to be stretched thin so they can commit fraud, either; only a handful of providers are criminals.
Second, Cuccinelli’s column gives the impression that the feds expect Virginia to prosecute all this imagined new fraud without receiving any of the recovered tax money. The fact is the federal government will pay 100 percent of the cost of care for those new enrollees, so any money stolen and recovered will be federal money justly returned to the federal treasury.
But isn’t all this beside the point? Nearly half a million Virginians with no health insurance who are too poor even to purchase private insurance subsidized under Obamacare will be cared for under Medicaid expansion. These people are our neighbors, our friends, our relatives, and given a few financial setbacks, any of us. To deny them care because Abbott Labs and Johnson & Johnson defrauded Medicaid is both irrational and immoral.
Ladelle McWhorter. Henrico.