The promise of federal government money to expand states' Medicaid offerings is like relying on "budget pixie dust," Rep. Paul Ryan warned while calling in on a telephone news conference being held by Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli.
The Wisconsin Republican bashed Obamacare during the call-in, reports The Washington Post
, saying that Cuccinelli's Democratic opponent, Terry McAuliffe, is building his agenda on expanding Medicaid in Virginia under the healthcare law.
“This is like budget pixie dust claiming that this money is all of a sudden going to come raining in from Washington and pay for all the things you want to do in state government,” Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, said of the government's plan to fund the first two years of expanded coverage and then subsidize it after.
“It’s just not so," he said. "It’s misleading.”
Cuccinelli, the Virginia attorney general, is a vocal Obamacare opponent, and on Saturday delivered the weekly GOP address
, in which he railed against the federal program, calling it "broken even before it started."
During Tuesday's phone conference, he continued his criticism of the program, reports The Washington Post, aiming his barbs at McAuliffe for his Obamacare support and for banking on "magical dollars" the federal government is promising for Medicaid expansion.
McAuliffe, though, says Medicaid expansion will save Virginia $500 million annually, and that the saved money can be used on his agenda items, which includes salary increases for teachers and increasing support for higher education.
Cuccinelli said McAuliffe would expand government healthcare even further if he could.
“He wanted to see Obamacare go one step further and entirely wipe out private insurance — go to the full single payer, called the public option,” Cuccinelli said. “If you think dealing with your insurance company is challenging, wait till you’re dealing with your government.”
He also warned that going with the federal government's promised match would mean Virginia still coming up with at least $200 million, a figure that could increase if the federal government decreases its share of matching funds.
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