McAuliffe takes nar­rower path after Med­i­caid ex­pan­sion blocked

Modern Healthcare - - REGIONAL NEWS - —Vir­gil Dick­son

Terry McAuliffe, Vir­ginia’s Demo­cratic gov­er­nor, has given up on his at­tempt to ex­pand Med­i­caid on his own with­out the support of the GOP-led Gen­eral Assem­bly.

In­stead, he is in­tro­duc­ing pro­gram im­prove­ments for those cur­rently en­rolled through an ex­ec­u­tive or­der and a se­ries of emer­gency reg­u­la­tions.

He also plans an ag­gres­sive out­reach cam­paign to reach those al­ready el­i­gi­ble for Med­i­caid who have not en­rolled while spread­ing the word about pre­mium sub­si­dies avail­able to oth­ers through the fed­eral ex­change. Other ini­tia­tives the gov­er­nor plans to launch in the com­ing months in­clude in­te­grat­ing pri­mary and spe­cialty care for as many as 20,000 unin­sured res­i­dents with se­ri­ous men­tal ill­ness via a CMS waiver. He also plans to al­low the chil­dren of low-in­come state em­ploy­ees to join the Vir­ginia Fam­ily Ac­cess to Med­i­cal In­surance Se­cu­rity, the state’s Chil­dren’s Health In­surance Pro­gram, and ex­tend den­tal ben­e­fits to all preg­nant women in Med­i­caid and FAMIS.

McAuliffe put up a tough fight to ex­pand Med­i­caid for an ad­di­tional 400,000 Vir­ginia adults mak­ing be­tween 100% and 138% of fed­eral poverty level, at one point even hold­ing up the state’s bud­get in hopes that GOP law­mak­ers would cave in. When that failed, he con­tem­plated ex­tend­ing the pro­gram through an ex­ec­u­tive or­der. But after talks with the state’s at­tor­ney gen­eral, McAuliffe re­al­ized such ex­ec­u­tive ac­tion would not be pos­si­ble.

“Trust me, if I could do this on my own, I would do it,” McAuliffe said last week dur­ing a news con­fer­ence.

Vir­ginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe

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