Some Virginia policy analysts say after months of stalling and keeping constituents on the edge of their seats, the General Assembly still blundered by passing a budget without Medicaid expansion.
Groups that include Virginia Organizing, Progress Virginia, and the Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis say that not only has the budget left hundreds of thousands of Virginians without affordable healthcare options—but residents are left with a gaping budgetary hole that needs to be filled.
Although Virginia lawmakers are still locked in a stalemate over Medicaid expansion, over the next two days business leaders, health care providers, and technology innovators are addressing the rising costs of healthcare and how to mitigate them—whether lawmakers reach a deal or not.
It’s all part of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce-sponsored Virginia Health Care Conference held in downtown Richmond.
What's next? It's the question being asked all over the Commonwealth after some lawmakers said if Medicaid expansion isn't part of the new budget, they ARE willing to hold out BEYOND the July 1st start of the new fiscal year. One political analyst agrees that whichever side blinks first could lose ground with that constituency—but there may be an alternative.
The conservative group Americans for Prosperity organized a public forum in Charlottesville this week to discuss Medicaid expansion. The featured speakers were two Republican Delegates who strongly oppose the idea, but it seemed they had come to the wrong place, as supporters packed the auditorium.
As the effort continues to press the Virginia House of Delegates to jump on board with Medicaid expansion, mental health advocates are warning of what could happen if those who are uninsured remain so.
One coalition says that while both chambers have made addressing mental health a priority this session, those who suffer from illnesses will still face many challenges if they do not have the means to pay for critical services.