VA’s Gov. Praises SCOTUS Decision

Jun 25, 2015

Governor Terry McAuliffe is  praising the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to uphold federal health care subsidies, and he’s renewing his push for Medicaid expansion.

 

“This historic decision is a victory for the 286,000 Virginians who will now keep affordable health care that is essential to economic success. It is also a clear sign that now is the time to drop cynical efforts to prevent families from accessing care that will make their lives better. With this issue decided, I hope we can now put partisan politics aside and help 400,000 Virginians get access to health care by bringing our taxpayer dollars home to close the coverage gap," said a statement from Gov. McAuliffe released today. 

Reactions from Virginia leaders came swiftly following the Supreme Court's ruling that upheld Affordable Care Act subsidies for consumers who bought health insurance plans through the federal marketplace. But how swiftly will the Commonwealth—with no healthcare exchange of its own—act in its wake?  

The decision renews calls to expand Medicaid and establish a Virginia health insurance exchange. Attorney General Mark Herring, who filed a brief defending the ACA, said the ruling enabled nearly 300-thousand Virginians to stay insured. He says what the GOP-run House will do now is unknown.

"It remains to be seen whether we're able to do that but I think this will be a big boost to helping us."

He says it may depend on the November elections. But Delegate John O'Bannon is very direct about whether he thinks the General Assembly will move in that direction.

"I don't think you're going to see Virginia look to adopt any of the state state based exchanges."

He says many who obtained insurance through the ACA had plans prior to the act that they preferred, but can no longer acquire. He says the federal law is flawed, and Congress must reform it before the state considers an exchange.

"We need to have folks that are able to get high deductible plans and things that aren't just what the government orders."

He says this may fuel the Governor's efforts to enact Medicaid expansion on his own, but O'Bannon doesn't think the dynamics have changed enough for that to happen.

Meantime, we have more responses to the ruling.  Timothy Jost is a Professor at Washington & Lee University's Law School. He's an expert lecturer and writer on health care regulation and comparative health law and policy.