Published: Sat, June 02, 2018
Medicine | By Brett Sutton

Virginia House approves Medicaid expansion

Virginia House approves Medicaid expansion

Virginia's governor is set to sign legislation in coming days expanding Medicaid after the state's Republican-controlled General Assembly ignored warnings from the White House against expanding the health care program for the poor.

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". Newly elected Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam added extra pressure when he told legislators that he would not sign a state budget that did not include Medicaid expansion. They plan to hear from former U.S. Sen.

Under the Affordable Care Act, the federal government covers 90 percent of the cost of Medicaid for new enrollees, an amount expected to be about $2 billion a year in Virginia.

Senate Republicans said Sen.

One of Northam's major campaign goals was to expand Medicaid for Virginia - a goal his predecessor, Terry McAuliffe, had but could not achieve with Republican majorities in the General Assembly. By resisting Medicaid expansion, Virginia has given up approximately $142 million in federal funding every month.

Virginia will be the second state to expand Medicaid following the election of President Donald Trump.

Under the Affordable Care Act, Virginia can raise those income limits to $16,750 a year for a disabled person or able-bodied adult, and $28,700 for a family of three. 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. Dave LaRock, R-Hamilton, said about expanding Medicaid in Virginia.


LaRock said he is concerned the Trump administration will make moves to pass the associated costs of federal health care laws along to the states. Rick Santorum, the Republican from Pennsylvania, who left office in 2007 and has been out of politics since his unsuccesful run for the presidency in 2012.

"We are picking up some momentum".

The Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association also released a statement Wednesday calling the expansion of Medicaid coverage "an important step" on behalf of many Virginians. A majority of senators support it and should be allowed to vote.

Capitol Police had to separate the two factions when they got into a shouting match, a rarity in the marble corridors where a staffer regularly scolds anyone who speaks above a whisper.

The Senate Majority Leader said the deal will not discourage him from continuing to fight for a fiscally responsible budget.

In a floor speech, he also lamented the tone of the debate. "In all the years that I've been in the Senate, I have never been treated more disrespectfully by some of the advocate groups than issue in my entire career", Norment said. "Lying down in front of my office. with made-up tombstones, asking people to blow their horns when they go past my law office", he said, The Washington Post reports.

"The verbal abuse I took yesterday. was unbelievable". Jill Holtzman Vogel, R-Fauquier, to vote for expansion.

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