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Virginia General Assembly Approves Medicaid Expansion

Posted on Jun 01,2018
Filed Under Local Politics , Politics,

Staff Report

ALEXANDRIA, VA. - The Virginia General Assembly yesterday passed a budget that includes Medicaid Expansion. Governor Ralph Northam is reviewing the bill.

“The General Assembly sent a budget to my desk that will improve the lives of all Virginians. It will expand health care for up to 400,000 people who need it. It will invest in schools, workforce training, public safety, and an economy that works better for every Virginian, no matter who they are or where they live,” Northam said.

“This budget is the culmination of five years of effort to bring our taxpayer dollars home from Washington and expand Medicaid. As a doctor, I’m so proud of the significant step we’ve taken together to help Virginians get quality, affordable care.

“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.

“The loudest voices in this long-standing conversation on Medicaid expansion have been those of Virginians. We have heard you. Thank you. I also want to acknowledge Governor Terry McAuliffe for his unrelenting effort to expand healthcare access while he was in office, and every member of the General Assembly who stood up today and did the right thing for their constituents. This is a victory for all Virginians.

“Going forward, my team and I will review this budget when it reaches my desk to ensure that there are no technical issues or unintended problems that may warrant an amendment and act upon it as quickly as possible.,” Northam said.

Democratic Leader David J. Toscano (D-Charlottesville) and Caucus Chair Charniele Herring (D-Alexandria) applauded passage of the legislation:

"This is a great day for the Commonwealth, especially those nearly 400,000 Virginians who will now have access to affordable healthcare. 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.

“The House Democratic Caucus has worked for nearly 6 years, alongside our Senate Democratic colleagues, Governor Northam and Governor McAuliffe, to make this day possible. While we're glad it has come, it's a shame that Republican leadership still voted against a budget that not only expanded Medicaid but increased funding for education, mental health, and public safety," Toscano and Herring said.

Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association President and CEO Sean T. Connaughton said:

“Today, the Commonwealth took an important step on behalf of many Virginians. In completing its work on the state budget, the General Assembly is fulfilling its duty to fund a wide range of essential public services on which millions of citizens rely. 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. Reaching this point has taken years of hard work and considerable effort by many elected leaders, stakeholders, advocates, and everyday Virginians who each made valuable contributions in support of increased coverage. Members of Virginia’s hospital community extend sincere thanks to all those who have been instrumental in this effort. In particular, we offer our gratitude to House of Delegates Speaker Kirk Cox, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Chris Jones, Senate Finance Committee Co-Chairman Emmett Hanger, Governor Ralph Northam, Senate Minority Leader Dick Saslaw, Senator Frank Wagner, Senator Ben Chafin, Senator Jill Vogel, House Minority Leader David Toscano, and the dozens of other individual Senators and Delegates from both parties who supported the compromise budget. Just as the hospital community has been a consistent partner with the state to achieve a compromise coverage plan, our members pledge continued support to the Commonwealth as we work together to implement coverage expansion here as part of the ongoing work to make Virginia the healthiest state in the nation.”

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