VIRGINIA LAWMAKERS BLOCK MEDICAID EXPANSION, BAR EXECUTIVE ACTION, AS STATES EYE MEDICAID BUDGET IMPACT; MANY FAVOR HIKE WITH FED SUPPORT VIA ACA
© Krantz News Service, June 13, 2014
On a party line vote, Virginia lawmakers have wrapped up a special session by voting to block any Medicaid expansion without legislative approval.
Virginia's Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe had indicated he was open to exective action to expand health care coverage for some 400,000 Virginians, but the Republican-controlled legislature said no to that approach, too.
Unexpected growth in Medicaid roles is straining state budgets in a key development for the states under the Affordable Care Act.
Many people who were eligible for Medicaid had not applied for the benefit until prompted by publicity over ACA sign-up deadlines, according to the Associated Press.
"In California, Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown's recent budget projected an additional $1.2 billion spending on Medi-Cal, the state's version of Medicaid, due in part to surging numbers," AP reported recently.
The ACA authorized substantial federal reimbursement for Medicaid coverage up to 133 percent of the poverty line, but states do not have to accept the program's expansion.
Many states haven't, but it remains a political issue as the video below illustrates. In it, demonstrators are shown on May 27 occupying North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis' office at the capitol in Raleigh.
They were a contingent of "Moral Monday" demonstrators who have been calling for more Medicaid spending and other issues in North Carolina, according to a report in the News & Observer.
The newspaper reported that 15 demonstrators were arrested early in the morning on May 28 and charged with a misdemeanor for their sit-in at the Speaker's office.
Tillis did not speak with the demonstrators, and the Republican majority in the legislature plans to maintain its present course on the issue, citing the will of a majority of voters, the News & Observer reported.
North Carolina's Senate has proposed significant cuts to Medicaid along with some privatization of delivery of services. The state will address budget issues over the next few weeks.