By Margaret Lewis
The 2012 election is over and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act remains, in the words of U.S. House Speaker John Boehner, “the law of the land.” Part of this law, as modified by the U.S. Supreme Court, provides substantial federal funding for states to expand Medicaid, the program that pays for health care for low-income people. It is up to the governor and General Assembly to decide if Virginia should do so.
There are voices urging the state to just say “no.” While this option has emotional appeal to many, there is a strong business case for creative, fiscally conservative reform and expansion of Medicaid in the Virginia tradition of good government. Medicaid reform and expansion makes sense because it can:
– Improve the quality of health care in Virginia.
– Control short- and long-term costs of the current Medicaid program, which are growing at an unsustainable pace.
Lewis is chairman of the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association and is writing on behalf of the board.