Now That Medicaid Expansion Has Passed, What's Next?

Jun 8, 2018

Democrats are still celebrating their huge victory in expanding Medicaid, a goal they’ve sought for years and only accomplished after last year’s wave election. What comes next?

OK, so Virginia has finally expanded health insurance to hundreds of thousands of people who live in poverty or with disabilities. What happens next? Virginia will need to get approval from the federal government for the work requirements that are imposed on people who want health insurance.

Senate Minority Leader Dick Saslaw says he’s not concerned about that because Virginia’s work requirements are very similar to those already approved in other states. And he doubts the Trump administration will be able to undo Obamacare.

The vote tally board records the votes of state Senators on the budget, which included Medicaid Expansion at the Capitol in Richmond on May 30th.
Credit AP Photo / Steve Helber

“They’re not going to be able to repeal it. They don’t have the votes. They might try to undo it in the courts. But, to be honest with you, I think they would pay a price at the polls for which they would never recover.”

Michael Cook of the Democratic Business Council predicts it’ll take about six months to implement the policy change.

"Private health plans basically insure the Medicaid population and manage it, and we’re going to have to work with the private health plans to make sure they have the capacity to handle the expansion.”

The deadline to make that happen is the end of the calendar year, so next year people can stop going to the emergency room and start seeing their own doctor.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.