Virginians Cannot Wait! VPLC and Coalition Oppose Delay of Medicaid Expansion

On February 3 the House Appropriations Committee adopted budget language (Item 307 #11 h) requiring a long list and “3 phases“ of Medicaid reforms as a condition of Medicaid expansion.  The language requires the expansion to be approved by the General Assembly after “completion” of the reforms, and prohibits expansion before July 1, 2014.

The Senate Finance Committee Budget (Item 307 #38s) also requires certain Medicaid reforms.  It also calls for action by the 2014 General Assembly before the expansion could be implemented.  This delays implementation until at least July 2014.

The conditions and delays built into the committee budgets unnecessarily postpone the Medicaid expansion for an unknown length of time.  Both require at least a 6 month delay – and it could be longer – or never.

The HAV Coalition opposes delayed implementation of the expansion.  The extension should begin on January 1, 2014.  We do not oppose efforts to reform the Medicaid program to implement improvements and efficiencies.  But those changes should be implemented along with the expansion.

The House and Senate should amend their budgets to modify the contingency language which delays implementation of the expansion.

Each day of delay means Virginia loses about $5 million of federal funding.  This funding isOUR federal tax dollars which would support health insurance, create 30,000 jobs, and boost Virginia’s economy.

400,000 uninsured Virginians are waiting for coverage and the health care they need!

What happens if Virginia delays the Medicaid extension?

  • 400,000 low income Virginians will remain uninsured. Most will be unable to get private coverage through the Exchange, leaving a huge gap in coverage.
  • Hospitals that serve the uninsured will lose more money.
  • Private health insurance premiums could rise even higher because of ongoing uncompensated care and fewer people in insurance risk pools.
  • Virginia loses the economic benefit of over $2 billion in federal spending each year and continues to pay for health programs/services for indigent care, CSB services, etc. with state/local money.
  • Virginians’ federal tax dollars will help people in other states.