Virginia politics: Chance for Medicaid expansion with dueling budgets?

At least some Virginians with incomes too low to get Medicaid — for instance, people with disabilities whose income exceeds $9,650 a year — might get coverage even if the state Senate and House of Delegates are billions of dollars apart on expanding Medicaid.

So far, nobody in Capitol Square is blinking. But nobody is really betting on a take-it-or-leave-it confrontation — that either the House approach or the Senate’s will be the ultimate result. Fingers crossed, legislators are hoping for a compromise.

There’s a long way to go. The House plan would use $2.9 billion in federal funds and a $307 million tax on hospitals over the next two years to expand Medicaid in order to cover all Virginians with incomes less than 138 percent of the federal poverty level. For a single person, that cutoff is $16,642 a year. The Senate plan does not include any of that federal or hospital tax money.

Since covering more low-income Virginians generates some $371 million in savings in medical and mental health programs that now fall entirely on Virginia taxpayers, the House plan can fund some potentially popular programs, from teacher salary increases to port dredging.

Ress can be reached at 757-247-4535. Amin can be reached by phone at 757-247-4890.

Go to Source