Medicaid Expansion and Budget Reconciliation
Earlier this month, Virginia's House and Senate released their budgets with vastly different views on Medicaid expansion.
The House's budget expands Medicaid to 300,000 Virginians through a two-pronged approach: 1) an amendment to expand income eligibility and use federal funds; and, 2) a federal waiver to add limited work requirements and other reforms to the current Medicaid system. The House budget proposes a mix of federal expansion dollars and assessments (tax) on hospitals to pay for expansion and fund raises for state workers and education and economic development initiatives.
The Senate budget does not include Medicaid expansion (or any federal expansion money) but does have a plan to broaden an existing Medicaid program for low-income individuals with severe mental illness or substance abuse disorders. This plan does not qualify as Medicaid expansion because it carves out a subset of the population, which means Virginia would pay 50% of the cost versus 10% in a Medicaid expansion scenario.
What does this mean?
At this point, the House and Senate budgets (and philosophies) are far apart. Check out The Commonwealth Institute's
of the two budgets
for more details.
Up next, select members of the House and Senate (or "conferees") will meet in conference committee to reconcile the two budgets. The House named their conferees, all of whom show support for Medicaid expansion as outlined in the House budget. The Senate has not yet named their conferees (as of Feb. 28).
What can you do?
Make your voice heard!
Let the House conferees know you support Medicaid expansion and appreciate their bipartisan budget proposal.
Similarly, let Senators know how important expansion is to your community, patients, and clients.
Join the rally on March 1
Healthcare for All Virginians is also hosting a rally in Richmond tomorrow, March 1 at 11:30 a.m. - sign up.