Opportunities to Improve upon Medicaid Expansion Victory in Virginia

The passage of Medicaid expansion in June 2018 was a massive step in increasing access to health care coverage across Virginia. Thanks to expansion, over 327,000 adults have enrolled in just over a year since enrollment began in November 2018. Many are already accessing coverage too with more than 256,900 expansion enrollees had visited a health care provider, filled a prescription, or accessed some other health care service as of early September 2019. This new coverage is changing lives and has enabled families to take control of their health.

While this achievement should be celebrated, there is still work to do in order to make sure there is truly healthcare for all Virginians. Virginia is currently in the process of applying for permission to implement a work requirement program that could undo much of the progress we have seen due to expansion. An estimated 74,000 of those newly enrolled could lose coverage in Virginia and as we have seenseenseen in other states, the people losing coverage are already working, sick or disabled, or have serious barriers to attaining work.

There is still an opportunity to do away with this proposal! This upcoming 2020 legislative session, lawmakers can reconsider this proposal and do away with it before anyone loses coverage.

Turning to a more positive note, there are several proposals that could expand access to comprehensive and low cost health care, including:

  • Strengthening Virginia’s Medicaid Program
    • Adding Dental Benefits for Medicaid Adults
    • Ending 40 Working Quarter
      • After satisfying the federal 5-year bar, lawful permanent residents (LPR) must still prove a 10 year work history — 40 work quarters — in order to be eligible for Medicaid in Virginia. Virginia is one of only 6 states to add this extra barrier to Medicaid enrollment for its LPR immigrant population.
    • Adopt Medicaid Maternal Mortality Solutions
      • Medicaid reimbursement for doula/midwife services
      • Medicaid funding for voluntary home visiting services to new families
      • Extend postpartum Medicaid coverage from 60 days to 12 months
  • Fixes for the ACA Individual Marketplace
    • Establish a State Based Exchange
    • Limit Short-Term Limited Duration Health Plans

Stay tuned here or on our Facebook page for ways to get involved!