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.
Hospitals here in Virginia are sounding the alarm – warning state lawmakers that they’ll be in big financial trouble if the legislature does not expand Medicaid.
The Affordable Care Act set out to provide health care coverage for almost everyone. Only undocumented residents were left out. The bill promised affordable health insurance, and for those who made too little money, states were supposed to expand their Medicaid programs, and the federal government would pick up the tab.
The General Assembly panel that will decide whether and how to expand Medicaid in Virginia took a look today at the experiences of other states.
The Medicaid Innovation and Reform Commission was especially interested in cost-controlling factors, aspects that worked, and mistakes to be avoided. The authors of research studies that crunched the numbers also attended.