Va. Lawmakers Preparing for Changes to Affordable Care Act, Medicaid
A new panel is taking shape in Richmond to monitor possible changes to the Affordable Care Act. Virginia leaders say it's time to prepare for shifts in health care policy.
RICHMOND, Va. (WVIR) - The Republican Party has long called for the Affordable Care Act to be repealed and replaced, but many are wondering what the impacts will be on states. A new panel is taking shape in Richmond to monitor those possible changes.
Virginia leaders say it's time to prepare for shifts in health care policy.
"We're looking forward to having ongoing oversight so that we can be prepared no matter what happens, but expanding Medicaid makes no sense at this point," said 25th District Delegate R. Steve Landes (R).
Republican legislators in the state’s capitol say they still have no interest in accepting federal dollars to expand Medicaid.
"States that took those dollars broke their banks. They're all in a situation now where they're having to come back and either cut other services or raise taxes," claim 73rd District Delegate John O’Bannon (R).
A new report presented to the House Appropriations Committee shows sky-rocketing costs of Medicaid that have been consistently under-estimated. "It's going to be about 23 percent of our budget," Landes said.
Democrats are making the opposite argument: They say in light of a budget shortfall of $1.5 billion, taking that federal money could help address pressing financial needs.
"We've been using state dollars - that costs taxpayers more money, not less," said 57th District Delegate David Toscano (D).
Toscano says the dollars already set aside for states could help meet increasing demands of aging and sick patients. "There's a lot of concern about the long-term costs of Medicaid, and those costs are rising. There's no doubt about that," he said.
The Democratic delegate of Charlottesville also doubts president-elect Donald Trump will be able to incorporate just a couple provisions of the Affordable Care Act.
"I think he’s going to run up against some problems, because if you only try to keep a couple of nice portions of ‘Obamacare,’ but you get rid of the individual mandate, the system collapses," Toscano said.
Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe is expected to make another pitch to expand Medicaid when he presents his ideas for budget cuts to lawmakers in December.