Virginia Governor Renews Push to Expand Medicaid
After Congress’ failure last week to pass an overhaul of healthcare, it looks like the Affordable Care Act will remain the law of the land. For Virginia, that means Governor Terry McAuliffe is taking the opportunity to revive his long-standing push to expand Medicaid coverage in the state.
For years Virginia’s Democratic Governor tried to convince the state’s Republican lawmakers to provide health insurance to low-income adults, by expanding Medicaid.
It was a smart move he says, because as part of the Affordable Care Act, the federal government was offering to pay the full cost of expansion, at least until 2020. After that, Virginia would have to pony up 10-percent of the cost. 32 states decided to take the deal.
But here in Virginia, Republicans resisted, saying it wasn’t wise to invest more in a program with already ballooning costs. Plus, they argued, the future of the healthcare law that provided the funds, was uncertain.
Monday, Governor Terry McAullife held a press conference to say there are no more excuses.
“As Speaker Ryan said, the ACA is now the law of the land and it is here to stay. So due to those actions on Friday, I think we here in Virginia need to get smart, we need to bring the money back,” said the Governor. “We have about $6.6 million dollars a day that would come back to Virginia to our healthcare providers, to provide healthcare to up to 400,000 of our citizens.”
It didn’t take long for Republican lawmakers to shoot back. In a statement, they say federal health care policy is still uncertain and it would be irresponsible to rush Medicaid expansion.