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Virginia Rejects Medicaid Expansion

Posted on October 13, 2012 by admin

There is a certain charge associated with the Medicaid expansion, a noticeable connotation. If you walk up to a group of strangers and start spouting facts about this portion of the Affordable Care Act, you can expect a reaction. The problem is that it varies by group. Red states and most of the conservatives across the country will likely respond with a frown and its matching fiery stare. Democratic liberals, however, will generally meet your words with positive enthusiasm and interest. By and large, the group approves of Obamacare and finds the Medicaid expansion to be one of its greatest triumphs. And for good reason.

More than half of the states have expanded Medicaid under Obamacare, resulting in the coverage of millions of Americans all across the nation. And for all of those states that were concerned about breaking the bank or stretching their funds further, the expansion is complimentary care. Through the year 2016, it is 100 percent free for every state involved — no exceptions. Following that period, states will only have to pitch in 10 percent of the healthcare costs, with the government paying the lion’s share for years to come. So in a nation “by the people” and “for the people,” why is it even the least bit surprising that the initially reluctant – like Indiana – have decided to embrace the benefits of Medicaid expansion? To put it plainly, it shouldn’t be. What should raise eyebrows, on the other hand, is the fact that some states continue to fight against the proposition.

Recently, Virginia has rejected the expansion, even with the determined support of its governor, Terry McAuliffe. After putting up a tenacious fight, Gov. McAuliffe was no match for the rest of the Virginia legislature, as they passed their anti-expansion budget on Thursday, June 12. And this budget won’t be so easily nullified. Thinking ahead and understanding their opponent, the majority Republican group incorporated an amendment that does not allow the state’s executive branch to expand Medicaid without the legislature’s budget approval.

Putting aside the percentages that both the state and federal government will have to pay in the future, the Medicaid expansion was designed to encompass a greater population than ever, expanding its services to include those who earn 138 percent of the nation’s poverty level. Gov. McAuliffe championed the importance of this principle, but the measure of his support will be revealed in the coming weeks. As June 30 is the governor’s deadline to accept this disappointing budget proposal, McAuliffe faces a difficult choice. Does he accept defeat and his unified legislature’s proposition or does he continue to battle? The issue lies in the latter decision, as allowing the current spending period to end without a resolution results in government shutdown.

Thus, in the days to come, Americans will find out just how much the expansion is worth to McAuliffe. But that isn’t all they might witness. Success on the part of the governor would indicate a spreading of Obamacare’s greatest asset, and such dispersion likely won’t be restricted to Virginia’s state borders. Given the unpredictability of even the initial expansion rejecters, one could very well see a shift in their beliefs – or at least reconsideration – if Virginia’s leader stands strong and fights for the Affordable Care Act.