RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – Virginia’s Republican-controlled House of Delegates is embracing Medicaid expansion after years of opposition. Here’s more from the Virginia News Network.
The House included Medicaid expansion in the proposed state budget Sunday, saying President Barack Obama’s health care law is here to stay and it’s no longer reasonable to block health coverage for about 300,000 low-income Virginians. Republicans want to mandate work requirements and cost-sharing provisions for some Medicaid recipients.
Republicans had blocked Medicaid expansion for years, saying its long-term costs were unsustainable. The change of heart comes after several new Democratic House lawmakers won election last year after campaigning specifically on expanding Medicaid. Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam has made expansion a top priority.
But the GOP-controlled Senate has indicated it still opposes expansion, setting up a potential stalemate in the final weeks of the 2018 legislative session.
Governor Northam released a statement on the House budget. “This budget proposal extends health coverage to hundreds of thousands of Virginians who need it. I want to thank Speaker Cox, Chairman Jones and delegates in both parties for the leadership they have demonstrated on this issue. I also want to thank Leader Toscano, his caucus and advocates in every corner of Virginia for the years of work on this issue that helped make this historic step possible.
“I have long supported a simple and straightforward expansion of Medicaid. However, I respect the priorities of the House majority and I am encouraged by and supportive of our work together to bring about a new “Virginia Way” on Medicaid. We can and should expand coverage and provide significant training resources, counseling, and incentives to connect Virginians with employment opportunities.
“I look forward to working with the House and Senate to finalize this proposal, ensure its passage and pursue an implementation plan that will provide the benefits of expanded coverage to Virginia families.”
In 2017 Riverside Shore Memorial Hospital provided over $15 million in uncompensated medical services. It is hoped that expanding Medicaid could substantially reduce that amount.