Published: Sat, June 02, 2018
Medical | By Marta Holmes

Virginia legislature sends Medicaid expansion to governor

Virginia legislature sends Medicaid expansion to governor

Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam is expected to sign the budget in coming days.

Even though, as Governing notes, "the Trump administration made expansion more enticing for some Republicans by letting states add new eligibility rules, such as work requirements and time limits", the remaining 14 states aren't now considering any expansion of their Medicaid programs, according to KFF.

The move to broaden the federal health care program for low-income Americans comes as a direct result of the political fallout from last November's election.

Virginia lawmakers crossed an important hurdle Wednesday, ensuring that, despite years of resistance, the state will become the latest to expand access to Medicaid.

Virginia's lawmakers have taken a step closer to expanding Medicaid.

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The state House of Delegates, also controlled by Republicans, will have to vote on the measure and is expected to adopt it; every House Democrat and 19 Republicans in the lower chamber passed a different Medicaid expansion bill earlier this year. Gov.

Norment, Jr., R-James City, right, walks past a sign held by Dr. Monica Morris, MD, the Medical Director of the Solari Radiation Therapy Center at VCU Community Hospital in South Hill, Va., as he enters a meeting of the Senate Finance Committee in Richmond, Va., Tuesday, May 29, 2018.

Locally, the budget will direct millions more in state funding to local school divisions.

When Republicans in Congress tried and failed to repeal the health care law a year ago, Hanger said they had proposed a block-grant approach that would have hurt Virginia and other states that had refused to expand their Medicaid programs.

"In the years I have been in the Senate, I have never been treated more disrespectfully by some of these advocacy groups", he said. The House plan included a work/training requirement for able bodied adults 18-55 who receive Medicaid coverage in Virginia.

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Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment (R-Williamsburg) had pushed for passage of a "clean budget" that did not include federal funding to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). "Health insurance coverage for autism spectrum disorder that I have fought for year after year and have been crushed when it failed, is in this budget".

"I want us to pass a budget today and more importantly. this budget has critical components that I want to support", Vogel said in a post on her official Facebook page. "This budget marks a stark departure, both from the conservative fiscal policies observed by the Commonwealth for generations and in the manner in which it was approved by the General Assembly". "The budget's inclusion of a bipartisan compromise plan to draw down available federal funds to help hundreds of thousands of hard-working, uninsured Virginians gain health care coverage will promote public health improvements, job growth, economic vitality, and strengthen our health delivery system".

The debate has been going on for years in Virginia. Leaders in the House and the Senate said they feared the federal government would renege on its funding promise, sticking Virginia with an unbearable tab. Members of Virginia's hospital community extend honest thanks to all those who have been instrumental in this effort.

The Virginia legislation covers the state's share of the expenses via an assessment on hospitals.

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