Governor Terry McAuliffe is trying once again to expand Medicaid coverage in Virginia. McAuliffe today proposed a budget amendment that would restore his authority to pursue planning for Medicaid expansion, something the GOP-controlled legislature has blocked in the past.
McAuliffe said the Trump Administration’s failure to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act leaves them with few excuses.
“Failing to expand Medicaid has cost Virginia $10.4 billion and has left 400,000 of our residents without healthcare,” McAuliffe said at a news conference. “President Trump’s attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act failed and even Speaker Ryan has said that Obamacare is the law of the land for the foreseeable future. The time has come for us to bring our taxpayer dollars back to serve the individuals who need them the most. With this amendment, I’m asking the General Assembly to work with me to pursue Medicaid expansion and put this funding to work for our most vulnerable Virginians”
The Governor’s proposed amendment restores authority for him to direct the Department of Medical Assistance Services (DMAS) to expand Medicaid in October if the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA) remains in place at that time. Any savings would be reserved for appropriation by the 2018 General Assembly. He said the measure guarantees a rapid response to the evolving health care landscape and ensures that Virginians can take advantage of any new opportunities presented by changes in federal programs.
Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam said McAuliffe’s plan is the moral thing to do.
“As a doctor, I have a firsthand understanding of the enormous benefits of having access to quality and affordable healthcare. Moreover, every day we don’t expand Medicaid, Virginians send millions of dollars of their taxes to other states. It is time to put politics aside, and do what is right— from both a moral and business perspective— and expand Medicaid for up to 400,000 hardworking Virginians,” Northam said.