- The Washington Times - Monday, July 28, 2014

A conservative group unveiled a television ad Monday that warns Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe to think twice before expanding Medicaid without legislative approval.

Americans for Prosperity’s 30-second spot, titled “Lawlessness,” argues the Democrat would be ignoring the will of many Virginians if he opts to forge ahead with the optional pillar of Obamacare that extends the federal-state health program to those earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level.

It also alludes to the potential costs of expanding the program, arguing school funding would be jeopardized.

McAuliffe is putting Washington politics ahead of Virginia families,” the ad’s narrator says.

Medicaid expansion was a key part of Mr. McAuliffe’s platform when he successfully ran for governor last year. But so far, his efforts to augment the health entitlement have been stymied by Republicans in Richmond, prompting him to explore executive action.

In 2012, the Supreme Court said states could ignore Obamacare’s call to expand the program within their borders without losing existing federal funding.

About half the states have opted to expand Medicaid, since the federal government is slated to pay for 100 percent of the expanded population in 2014-2016 before scaling back its contribution to 90 percent in 2020 and beyond.

But many Republicans have resisted expansion, citing future state costs and distrust of the federal government’s promises.

Proponents of expansion say it is the compassionate thing to do and a no-brainer for states, given the economic benefits of the federal government’s offer.

They say states that do not expand their programs will see thousands of poor residents go uninsured while their taxpayers pay into Washington’s coffers, allowing states that do expand to draw on federal funds and get their people covered.