By Mike Thompson
Reprinted with permission from the Jefferson Policy Journal
While the General Assembly and Governor McAuliffe debated Medicaid expansion in Richmond earlier in the year, the federal government bureaucracy tried to change the Medicare Part D program into a Medicaid type program. Let me explain.
When Congress passed Medicare Part D in 2003 and added prescription drug coverage to the health insurance plan that serves most of America’s senior citizens, budget hawks feared that it was just another big government entitlement program that taxpayers could not afford. After all, Congress has a long history of underestimating the cost of entitlement programs – especially when they have to do with healthcare. For example, when Congress enacted Medicare in 1965 as part of President Johnson’s Great Society, Congress projected that the program would cost $12 billion per year in 1990, but it the real cost in 1990 was $110 billion and it costs more than $500 billion per year today.