The Koch Brothers’ Americans for Prosperity group is launching a campaign against the expansion of Medicaid under the guise that doing so will cost state taxpayers billions of dollars. Amusingly, they also claim this will lead to spending cuts in education which they would otherwise support.
The effort, orchestrated by the group Americans for Prosperity, is targeting lawmakers in Virginia tasked with deciding whether the state should accept federal dollars to provide insurance to individuals and families below 133 percent of the federal poverty line ($31,321 in income for a family of four). Volunteers with the organization are distributing flyers through door-to-door canvassing, attending committee hearings, and according to one lawmakers who has become a target of the campaign, intimidating constituents.
As many as 400,000 Virginians could qualify for coverage if the state expands the Medicaid program, but AFP is warning Virginians that the system “will cost Virginia taxpayers billions,” require “future tax hikes and budget cuts to vital services like schools, police and fire departments,” undermine the “doctor-patient relationship,” increase wait times and even endanger lives.
As we’ve discussed here numerous times, the idea that expanding Medicaid will crash state budgets is a blatant lie.
The federal government will cover 100 percent of the cost of expanding Medicaid for the first several years and will cover 90 percent of the cost for the foreseeable future. And the money to pay for this has already been allocated. If states refuse to expand the program, that money will go somewhere else.
It’s not entirely clear what the Koch Brothers and Americans for Prosperity get out of this, but I assume their goal is to make people as unhappy as possible so they will vote for Republicans who will move toward privatizing everything.