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Virginia General Assembly votes to expand Medicaid

Virginia General Assembly votes to expand Medicaid

The majority-GOP Senate passed the measure with the votes of all 19 Democrats along with a handful of Republican senators, bringing a six-year debate over whether Virginia should accept funding from the Affordable Care Act to expand Medicaid almost to a close.

The vote comes one day after a heated session that included a committee killing expansion.

The House had previously endorsed expansion, while the Senate had held out in opposition until Wednesday. Several studies have found that Medicaid expansion has led to increased access and affordability of healthcare.

Northam said Tuesday that he has listened to excuses for not expanding Medicaid for more than four years at a cost of billions of dollars in federal aid the state has refused for expanding health coverage under the federal-state program for the poor, elderly, disabled and children.

The turning level got here in April when State Senator Frank Wagner, a Republican from Virginia Seaside, stated he had modified his place and would assist Medicaid growth, becoming a member of one different Republican, Senator Emmett W. Hanger Jr. of Augusta, and all 19 Senate Democrats. The House quickly followed about an hour later with a lopsided 67-31 final endorsement.

When Republicans in Congress tried and failed to repeal the health care law past year, Hanger said they had proposed a block-grant approach that would have hurt Virginia and other states that had refused to expand their Medicaid programs. Instead, a substitute budget including amendments that allowed for Medicaid expansion, offered by Senator Hanger, was approved. Republicans in Virginia's General Assembly have resisted Medicaid expansion for years, despite the fact that 61 percent of residents supported it as early as September 2014. Republicans had previously been near unified in blocking past expansion efforts, saying the long-term costs were unsustainable. Ben Chafin, a Republican lawmaker from Virginia's economically depressed southwest coal country, announced his support for expansion on the Senate floor. He said his rural area needed expansion to help bolster its hospitals and provide care for constituents in need.

"I came to the conclusion that no just wasn't the answer anymore", Chafin said.

But several Republican senators remained strongly opposed, saying Medicaid costs would eventually overwhelm the rest of the state's budget needs for schools and public safety.

Reading another column about the failure of the Virginia General Assembly to expand Medicaid may be as painful for you to read as it is for me to write.

President Donald Trump has vigorously sought to negate his predecessor's health law.

Virginia will join 32 other states and the District of Columbia in expanding the Medicaid program.

Former Virginia governor, now U.S. Sen. "It's not just a fiscal burden, but it's not the best solution for people who want real, quality health care". This bipartisan budget was made possible by the result at the ballot box in November 2017, sending Governor Northam to a landslide victory and flipping 15 seats in the House of Delegates from Republican to Democratic.

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