Virginia Politics’ Rosalind Helderman notes that Gov. Bob McDonnell is still accepting funding from the Affordable Care Act that he claims is unconstitutional. Yesterday, McDonnell announced that the state will receive “$2 million in federal funding to improve care for elderly and disabled residents” — without mentioning that the money is part of a $68 million grant program in the new law:
Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) announced Wednesday that Virginia has snagged $2 million in federal funding to improve care for elderly and disabled residents. [...]
In a statement, McDonnell said the new money would be of “enormous aid in helping Virginians keep their loved ones in their home as long as possible and provide greater options for both aging adults and adults with disabilities.”
What the statement does not mention is that the grant was approved by Congress as part of the new federal health care law. The White House distributed a parallel press release Wednesday announcing the $68 million grant program and touting it as one of the benefits of the new law.
When pressed by the blog about this inconsistency, McDonnell explained that he’s accepting this money because it helps seniors with disabilities in his state and extends an existing program:
This money merely continues existing senior programs in Virginia that have consistently received federal funding. Some, but not all, of the funding in question this time around was included in the larger health care bill that contained the administration’s health care reform provisions. The governor opposed federal health care reform, and still does. But he’s not going to stop funding important programs for seniors and people with disabilities just to prevent Democrats from playing politics. That’s the difference between Richmond and Washington. Down here, we actually are focused on getting things done.
By this logic, McDonnell should expand the existing Medicaid program to cover lower income residents and implement other provisions of the bill which would directly help the one million or so Virginians who are uninsured. After all, Virginia has already accepted planning grants to help establish the exchanges and funds to review insurance premiums — both of which don’t continue existing programs.