Paul Ryan: Medicaid expansion is ‘empty promise’

paul ryanThe Ken Cuccinelli gubernatorial campaign used failed 2012 Republican vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan to poke holes in Terry McAuliffe’s push to expand Medicaid coverage in Virginia.

“I understand Ken’s opponent is claiming that the Medicaid expansion is going to pay for his many promises,” Ryan said on a conference call with reporters arranged by the Cuccinelli campaign Tuesday. “I see it as one big empty promise. So-called free money from Washington isn’t free, and isn’t going to come.”

McAuliffe has suggested that he would not sign a state budget passed by the General Assembly if it didn’t include an expansion of Medicaid. The Democrat says the expansion would help cover 400,000 uninsured Virginians and bring $21 billion of taxpayer dollars back to Virginia.

Cuccinelli counters by pointing to Medicaid as “one of the largest, most out-of-control parts of our state budget.”

“And we have to balance our budget every year, and so that means once we get into this program – there never having been a state that I’m aware of ever getting out of an entitlement program, a welfare program, like this – we’re pretty well stuck in. That’s why this decision on the front end is so important,” Cuccinelli said.

McAuliffe campaign spokesman Josh Schwerin poked at Cuccinelli’s choice of conference-call-mate.

“Rather than standing by his Tea Party allies who drove the government shutdown and put Virginia’s economic well being in danger, Ken Cuccinelli should be standing up for Virginia,” Schwerin said. “Virginians of both parties continue to turn away from Cuccinelli’s extreme ideological agenda and have made it clear they prefer Terry McAuliffe’s mainstream vision for supporting Virginia’s economic growth.”

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