Few things have done more lately to prove the adage that a lie can get halfway around the world before the truth has got its boots on than debate over Medicaid expansion in Virginia. The discussion often has been complex and arcane, but one argument – a false one – has been repeated almost ad nauseam: the claim that if Virginia does not expand Medicaid, Virginia’s share of federal expansion funds will simply go to other states. Since the money will get spent no matter what, the argument implies, Virginia might as well expand Medicaid and keep the money here.
Gov. Terry McAuliffe made that claim during his election campaign. “If we don’t accept the money,” his platform said, “it will simply flow to other states. I believe that Virginia taxpayer money should stay in Virginia.” Others have echoed his argument, again and again.