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.
The Commonwealth’s business leaders held dueling news conferences yesterday to express opposing views on enrolling hundreds of thousands of additional low-income residents in Medicaid.
The Virginia Chamber of Commerce stressed that it’s against a traditional expansion of Medicaid—but it likes the state Senate’s plan for using private insurance through a new Marketplace Virginia. The National Federation of Independent Business believes that Medicaid growth will become fiscally unsustainable.
House of Delegates GOP leaders have announced that they will not vote to expand Medicaid—if at all—until after a comprehensive, outside audit of the state’s program is conducted.
They say they want to find out why Medicaid has become the most expensive item in the General Fund budget … and why 30 percent of the Commonwealth’s healthcare spending goes to waste, fraud, and inefficiencies. They believe it’s a once-in-a-generation opportunity to find out what’s wrong with Medicaid and fix what’s broken.
One of the biggest issues for this legislative session is whether to expand Medicaid. The Affordable Care Act assumed states would do that and offered to pay the full cost for the first three years – then scaling back to 90% over the next seven years.
About half the states – including Virginia – refused, and that means about 190,000 people in the Commonwealth will still be without medical coverage. Governor McAuliffe is pushing for expansion of Medicaid, but Republicans are pushing back with some surprising proposals.