The cost of Medicaid, a health-care program for the poor, is ballooning, sopping up at least 20 percent of this year’s $1 billion surplus. This is not an isolated event. Rather, it is part of a pattern of budget-busting problems that — the 2004 tax increase notwithstanding — could again imperil Virginia’s recently reaffirmed Triple-A credit rating, the highest possible.

But Medicaid is not sexy. For starters, most voters have no contact with the program. Thus, it has a small and almost voiceless constituency. Further, because Medicaid’s purpose, structure and financing are difficult to explain, the candidates just don’t.

Jeff Schapiro’s take on the shallow gubernatorial campaign.