Virginia has a choice - expand Medicaid under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) or not.
Doing so would provide $21 billion over seven years and health insurance for at least 400,000 of Virginia's uninsured, and the program would be fully funded by the Feds for the first three years and then decline to 90 percent in 2020.
Governor McDonnell recently wrote to the Obama administration that no agreement has been reached to expand Medicaid. “Some media outlets and elected officials have labeled this [the compromise agreement] as approving Medicaid expansion in Virginia. This is absolutely incorrect,” he wrote.
McDonnell appointed a bipartisan panel of 10 Virginia legislators to determine the issue, and a simple majority will be needed to make any determinations.
Del. Dave Albo (D-42) told the South County Federation on Tuesday that the Governor of Virginia has the authority to make the decision on Medicaid expansion without the General Assembly. That means that the upcoming Governor's race in November between Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and Democrat Terry McAuliffe could determine the answer to the question.
"If Terry wins, he can accept Medicaid without any reforms and we (Virginia) get nothing We don't have total control of the situation, so we have to get in the game and play to get some things that the Republicans want."
Sen. George Barker (D-39) said the expansion would be good for Virginia businesses. "Only 30 percent of Virginia employers have health insurance coverage for their employees," he said.
Del. Mark Sickles said that the expansion needs to happen. "We need to reform it.," he said. "Medicaid is a very expensive part of our budget. We have to make sure that it's cost effective."
What do you think?