Virginia Senate Backs Medicaid Expansion, Promising Health Coverage To Almost 400,000

Virginia Senate Backs Medicaid Expansion, Promising Health Coverage To Almost 400,000

"Today's vote in Virginia is a smack in the face to the Trump administration and the Republicans in Congress who keep pushing an out-of-touch, anti-health-care agenda", said Leslie Dach, chair of the advocacy group Protect Our Care, which supports the Affordable Care Act.

"The House Democratic Caucus has worked for almost 6 years, alongside our Senate Democratic colleagues, Governor Northam and Governor McAuliffe, to make this day possible". Several state Republicans dropped their opposition this year, saying the state would be better off with increased federal funding for the program.

Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam is expected to sign the budget in coming days, and the roughly 400,000 newly eligible low-income Virginias will begin enrolling in Medicaid at the start of next year.

The budget now goes to the Governor's desk for a signature.

House Speaker Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights) said he believes Virginia's budget includes the most conservative set of reforms to Medicaid in the country. The Senate is expected to also pass its $115 billion two-year budget on Wednesday and both are expected to pass the House.

One of the nation's longest and bitterest battles over implementation of the Affordable Care Act looks likely to end very soon as the Virginia Senate approved a budget that included funds to expand Medicaid. Childless adults are not eligible, and working parents can not earn more than 30 percent of the federal poverty level, or $5,727 a year.

The Richmond-Times Dispatch first reported the agreement.

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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".

Norment criticized the spending plan in a statement released after the Senate's final vote.

"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".

Virginia Republican Senate Majority Leader Thomas Norment Jr.

"We will be ready to resume that fight when we convene for the next regular session in January 2019", he added. Dave LaRock, R-Hamilton, said about expanding Medicaid in Virginia. In completing its work on the state budget, the General Assembly is fulfilling its duty to fund a wide range of essential public services on which millions of citizens rely. And health clinics are readying for a huge overhaul of how the state delivers cares for the poor. Reaching this point has taken years of hard work and considerable effort by many elected leaders, stakeholders, advocates, and everyday Virginians who each made valuable contributions in support of increased coverage. This bipartisan budget was made possible by the result at the ballot box in November 2017, sending Governor Northam to a landslide victory and flipping 15 seats in the House of Delegates from Republican to Democratic. 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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