WILLIAMSBURG, VA, 2 NOVEMBER 2018: Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment, Jr. (R-James City), Co-Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, today issued the following statement regarding the announcement by the Northam Administration that Medicaid expenditures will be increasing by $462 million:
“This is disheartening news for the Commonwealth. It will not be easy to rectify a shortfall of this magnitude without pain or sacrifices. Secretary Layne’s comment that ‘This is going to be a tough budget,’ is simultaneously accurate and understated.
“As the majority of our Caucus pointed out repeatedly during this year’s debate over expanding Medicaid by fully enacting Obamacare, this program has been growing at an unsustainable rate for decades. This latest shortfall only reinforces what we were saying during this year’s session.
“The growing cost of Medicaid and the ever-increasing share it takes in Virginia’s budget will ultimately encroach upon other core services like education and public safety.
“This situation illustrates another point we made repeatedly. There is no such thing as ‘free money’ from Washington. There are always costs incurred, and the share of those costs the Commonwealth must pay is subject to unanticipated and unpleasant increases.
“I would rather not be in the position of saying ‘We told you so.’ I would rather the Commonwealth approach these challenges with prudence and fiscal restraint. But as that course was rejected when this budget was approved on May 30, we will do what is necessary to put our budget back in balance and to restore Virginia’s reputation for sound fiscal management - if some legislators will just listen to fiscal common sense this time around.”