Virginia on cusp of expanding Medicaid
UPDATE: May 31, 2018: The Virginia House of Delegates voted Wednesday night to send legislation containing Medicaid expansion to Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam, who is expected to sign the bills into law.
- The Virginia Senate on Wednesday moved past the most significant hurdle to expand Medicaid to an additional 400,000 residents, a long-sought goal of Democrats using the powers under the Affordable Care Act. Two Republicans broke ranks to pass an amendment that's part of a larger budget bill still working its way through the body.
- Once it moves through the Senate, the bill will then go back to the House of Delegates, where it will face technical tweaks and is likely to pass. After that, Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam will sign the bill.
- Virginia will join 32 other states and the District of Columbia in expanding the Medicaid program.
Northam has pushed for the expansion of the program, which would extend Medicaid benefits for adults up to 138% of the federal poverty level. Several studies have found that Medicaid expansion has led to increased access and affordability of healthcare.
The Virginia plan, which leans on provider taxes to fund the program's expansion, also contains work requirements. The Trump administration has been vocal that it is willing to allow states more flexibility to design their programs through waivers.
Pressure to expand Medicaid accelerated after a wave of Democrats, including Northam, were elected last November. Former Democratic Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe spent considerable time and effort trying to get Medicaid expansion over the finish line, but ultimately did not accomplish the goal before leaving office.
Meanwhile, Medicaid expansion advocates in Idaho say they have enough signatures to put expansion on the November ballot. State officials are reviewing the 58,000 signatures to see whether they meet requirements. Earlier this year, Utah also met the threshold.
Correction: A prior version of this story misstated the party that controls the Virginia House of Delegates.
- Kaiser Family Foundation Status of State Action on the Medicaid Expansion Decision
- Healthcare Dive Medicaid expansion sees movement in Virginia, may get vote in Idaho
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