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Medicaid fight: Republicans, Democrats fight with your money

Democrat vs. Republican on whiteLast month, Democratic Attorney General hired constitutional law expert A.E. Dick Howard to advise his office on the pending battle over Medicaid expansion being waged in Richmond.

Today’s news is that Republicans have now hired an expert of their own. House Speaker Bill Howell presented to reporters an analysis from former U.S. Solicitor General Paul D. Clement arguing that Gov. Terry McAuliffe does not have the power to expand Medicaid on his own, counter to the analysis that Howard, one of the architects of Virginia’s Constitution, which was rewritten in 1971, has offered to Herring.

The bigger news is how much all of this is costing us. That’s right: us. The advice from Clement is being footed by taxpayers at the rate of a $25,000 flat fee. Herring’s office is paying Howard $500 an hour for up to 20 hours of work, or $10,000, according to an office spokesman.

Of course there is partisan posturing about the money being spent by the other side. Last month, when Herring’s deal with Howard related to advice was announced, Garren Shipley, a Republican Party spokesman, said “(t)axpayers shouldn’t have to pay for the administration to navigate the consequences of its own obstruction.”

Today Democratic Party of Virginia executive director Robert Dempsey is noting how “truly astonishing the lengths to which Republicans will go to deny access to healthcare to hundreds of thousands of Virginians.”

“Not only have the Republicans tried every trick to block expansion, now they are spending tens of thousands of Virginia taxpayer dollars to develop more hypothetical ideas on how to prevent their own constituents from getting the healthcare they need and deserve,” Dempsey said.

When they’re both doing, the concerns about your tax dollars being wasted tend to ring a bit hollow, though, don’t they?

– Column by Chris Graham


augusta free press
augusta free press