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VA Senate Finds Compromise on Budget Amendment - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

VA Senate Finds Compromise on Budget Amendment

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A debate over the best way to spend your state tax dollars morphed into a discussion on Medicaid expansion Thursday in Richmond. A bipartisan compromise on the subject helped Senate lawmakers avoid a possible stalemate during budget amendment negotiations.

Lawmakers agreed on budget language that would expand low-income health coverage to hundreds of thousands of uninsured Virginians, an option left up to individual states under the Affordable Care Act. Expansion could also bring in billions of dollars in federal funds, and save Virginia money on current Medicaid expenses.

But expansion would only happen if Washington enacts certain reforms to make the Medicaid system more cost-effective.

"If we can get those waivers for the reforms in Medicaid, which have huge implications for the overall cost for Virginia, then it makes just good sense for us to expand those populations," said Senator Emmett Hanger.

Proposed Medicaid expansion in Virginia is not guaranteed, though. The Senate's budget amendments must now make it through a conference committee with the House of Delegates. House lawmakers voted against including Medicaid expansion in their budget amendments.

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