Virginia lawmakers vote to expand Medicaid

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Under the ACA, states may expand their Medicaid rolls to people with incomes up to 138% of the federal poverty level, which is $16,643 for an individual and $28,700 for a family of three.

While the budget bill is a big deal for progressive advocates, there's a catch.

Sen. Bill Stanley, R-Franklin, who opposed Medicaid expansion, called the budget "a ticking time bomb" and said lawmakers are spending money like they're "drunk in New Orleans".

"There's support there to do this, I believe", said Hanger, who is prepared to join with the Senate's 19 Democrats and at least one Republican, Sen.

The budget bill included a work requirement for able bodied adults that will receive Medicaid coverage in Virginia.

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"The House Democratic Caucus has worked for almost 6 years, alongside our Senate Democratic colleagues, Governor Northam and Governor McAuliffe, to make this day possible".

The House, however, is expected to pass the Senate's budget - and Medicaid expansion-without much trouble.

"This budget doesn't just expand healthcare access to those who need it most, it also invests in core economic priorities like education and workforce training and significantly increases the cash reserves that insulate our state finances from economic disruption".

Virginia Republican Senate Majority Leader Thomas Norment Jr.

Nineteen of the 51 Republicans in the House joined Democrats in February to pass a budget bill that expanded Medicaid, apparently concluding that they have more to fear from energized Democrats and independents than from potential primary challengers on the right.

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Despite Republican efforts to tear it down, the Affordable Care Act "has become more popular than it ever was, and the opportunity to balance the state's budget with an influx of federal funds became an increasingly popular choice", he said. The benefits would include revenue from expanding Medicaid eligibility to people who now receive uncompensated care and from raising the reimbursement rate for providers.

"The General Assembly sent a budget to my desk that will improve the lives of all Virginians". "This budget marks a stark departure, both from the conservative fiscal policies observed by the Commonwealth for generations and in the manner in which it was approved by the General Assembly".

"We will be ready to resume that fight when we convene for the next regular session in January 2019", he added.

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

Democrats came within one seat of drawing even in the state's House of Delegates in last fall's election. "The budget's inclusion of a bipartisan compromise plan to draw down available federal funds to help hundreds of thousands of hard-working, uninsured Virginians gain health care coverage will promote public health improvements, job growth, economic vitality, and strengthen our health delivery system". Members of Virginia's hospital community extend honest thanks to all those who have been instrumental in this effort.

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Virginia's plan would tax hospitals to generate revenue for the state's 10 percent share of the roughly $2 billion annual cost.

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