Virginia lawmakers set to expand Medicaid

Despite GOP effort to kill Obamacare Virginia becomes 33nd state to expand Medicaid under the law

Despite GOP effort to kill Obamacare Virginia becomes 33nd state to expand Medicaid under the law

Virginia's lawmakers have taken a step closer to expanding Medicaid.

The turning point came in April when State Senator Frank Wagner, a Republican from Virginia Beach, said he had changed his position and would support Medicaid expansion, joining one other Republican, Senator Emmett W. Hanger Jr. of Augusta, and all 19 Senate Democrats.

Sen. Amanda Chase, who voted against it, said she's most concerned with what happens next. "Doing nothing about the medical conditions, the state of health care in my district, just wasn't the answer any longer".

The extended debate kept the House of Delegates waiting in their chambers to act on the Senate budget in order to move the measure to Gov. Ralph Northam's desk.

"It's a very bad decision", Del. Dave LaRock, R-Hamilton, said about expanding Medicaid in Virginia. "We can't afford it". Like an increasing number of states being encouraged to move in this direction by the Trump administration, Virginia's Medicaid expansion will include some work and cost-sharing requirements for beneficiaries.

This comes after months of delay ahead of a budget deadline for the state government.

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Sen. Ben Chafin, a Republican lawmaker from Virginia's economically depressed southwest coal country, announced his support for expansion on the Senate floor.

The state will become the 33rd to expand Medicaid since the Affordable Care Act went into effect in 2014.

ME did so a year ago through a voter referendum, though that state's Republican governor has done everything he can to keep that referendum from being implemented. 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.

Expansion is expected to make health care available to 350,000 to 450,000 low-income Virginians. It will expand health care for up to 400,000 people who need it.

Medicaid's expansion is something local nonprofit officials have been eagerly awaiting. "We'll eventually see a cut to services, cut to education, cut to transportation", said Chase. "This is doubly true for the population Grafton serves: those with both psychiatric and intellectual challenges. In addition we believe that we must always be vigilant to ensure that existing funding streams are adequate to address the complex needs of these individuals - the complexity is increasing, not decreasing, and we are responding to an increase in Autism Spectrum Disorders, in epidemic proportions".

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