Vir­ginia gover­nor will use his pow­ers to ex­pand Med­i­caid

Modern Healthcare - - LATE NEWS -

Vir­ginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe vowed Fri­day to by­pass the Gen­eral As­sem­bly and ex­pand Med­i­caid el­i­gi­bil­ity for about 400,000 low-in­come res­i­dents on his own.

The Demo­cratic gover­nor said his staff has be­gun work­ing with the federal govern­ment, in­sur­ance plans, hos­pi­tals and other groups on how to ex­pand health­care cov­er­age for the poor, adults un­der 138% of poverty with­out leg­isla­tive ap­proval.

“Let me be crys­tal clear, I am mov­ing for­ward to get health­care for our Vir­ginia cit­i­zens,” McAuliffe said at news con­fer­ence at the state Capi­tol.

McAuliffe had tried un­suc­cess­fully for months to per­suade state Republi- can law­mak­ers to ap­prove some form of Med­i­caid ex­pan­sion. But he said Fri­day he had “no il­lu­sions” that Repub­li­cans were in­ter­ested in com­pro­mis­ing on the is­sue.

“They have turned their back, time and time again,” McAuliffe said.

He said he’s or­dered Vir­ginia’s Sec­re­tary of Health and Hu­man Re­sources Dr. Wil­liam A. Hazel Jr. to present a plan no later than Sept. 1 on “how we move for­ward with health­care in the face of the dem­a­goguery, the lies, the fear and the cowardice that have gripped this de­bate for far too long.”

McAuliffe said he be­lieves there are a num­ber of ways he can legally ex­pand Med­i­caid with­out the Gen­eral As­sem­bly’s ap­proval. But lead­ers of the GOP-con­trolled state House re­sponded Fri­day that McAuliffe does not have that power and they are pre­pared to fight.

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