General Assembly budget negotiators are working toward a compromise on the possible expansion of the Medicaid program, a deal that could pave the way for passage of a state budget bill.
House and Senate negotiators are trying to iron out details of a proposed 12-member commission that would oversee the process and ensure that Medicaid expansion under the federal health care law is accompanied by cost-cutting reforms. If the two sides can agree on terms of the deal today, they could complete work on revisions to the state’s two-year budget in time for the full General Assembly to vote on the bill before Saturday’s scheduled adjournment of the 2013 session.
The 12-member commission would be comprised of 10 legislators and two Cabinet secretaries, negotiators said earlier today.
At least 250,000 low-income Virginians could gain health care coverage if state expands eligibility for the Medicaid program under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. But Gov. Bob McDonnell has taken a hard line on issue, refusing to expand Medicaid without reforms occurring first.
The Senate’s budget plan would allow for Medicaid expansion to occur in January 2014 if the state obtains federal approval of cost-containment reforms. The House plan would require the federal government to approve the state’s reforms before the General Assembly votes on authorizing expansion in its 2014 session.