Published: Sat, June 02, 2018
Medical | By Vicki Mclaughlin

Virginia legislature sends Medicaid expansion to governor

Virginia legislature sends Medicaid expansion to governor

Ralph Northam, a pediatrician and Army doctor by trade, planning to sign the measure into law, Virginians and advocates for Medicaid expansion welcomed the development but emphasized the dangers of the caveat, which, as research from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has shown, "will nearly certainly cause many low-income adults to lose health coverage".

LaRock, who represents the 33rd District, which includes parts of Frederick, Clarke and Loudoun, said the Medicaid amendments in the Senate's version of the budget were written in conjunction with the House Appropriations Committee, so it was likely to pass the House, though he said he would vote against it, as he has previously.

The GOP-controlled General Assembly's support for Medicaid comes despite Trump administration rejections. The Senate didn't come around until Wednesday.

Wednesday's voting marked the end of a more than four-year battle over whether Virginia should expand the publicly funded health care program for the poor. Under the law, the federal government provides at least 90 percent of the funding for the expansion.

But not everyone thinks expansion was the right move. But in a statement Wednesday she said she would vote for the final budget including expansion.

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"I think we're going to see higher taxes as a result of this". The House quickly followed about an hour later with a lopsided 67-31 final endorsement. Concerns about the future of the program, its cost and the strength of the work requirements were all brought up.

Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam is expected to sign the budget in coming days that continues the plan. But it's still very good news for up to 400,000 low-income Virginians who could become eligible for the wide array of services Medicaid provides. Thank you. I also want to acknowledge Governor Terry McAuliffe for his unrelenting effort to expand healthcare access while he was in office, and every member of the General Assembly who stood up today and did the right thing for their constituents.

Idaho, Nebraska, and Utah are also working to expand Medicaid, but through ballot measures rather than state legislatures, following a precedent set by ME voters last November. Several state Republicans, including Augusta County's Emmett Hanger, dropped their opposition this year, saying the state would be better off with increased federal funding for the program.

Democrats campaigned heavily on expanding Medicaid last year and some House Republicans were eager to take the issue off the table before next year's election, when both House and Senate seats are up.

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