McAuliffe asks legislators for input, cooperation on Medicaid expansion

terry mcauliffeGovernor McAuliffe sent a letter today to the General Assembly leaders asking for engagement in drafting a mutually agreeable proposal for Medicaid expansion for his outgoing biennial budget.

Following the United States Senate vote on July 28, it is now clear that the Affordable Care Act will remain the law of the land. As you know, I have been an avid proponent of Medicaid Expansion for the past four years. The benefits are clear: 400,000 more Virginians served, an infusion of federal funds into our state budget, and 30,000 jobs created. So far, we have forfeited over $10 billion by not expanding Medicaid – Virginians’ taxpayer dollars that have gone to Washington and not come back.

We as a state cannot continue to forfeit $2 billion each year, losing out to other states. Once again, I will be proposing Medicaid Expansion in my outgoing biennial budget. As I have said before, we can expand Medicaidwithout the expenditure of state funds. I am committed to finding the best, most workable path forward for Virginia, and I hope we can do that together.

Today and for the foreseeable future, the option for Medicaid Expansion exists. I, like you, am hopeful that as members of Congress look for common ground to reform and strengthen the ACA, they can find ways to better serve our most vulnerable citizens. When Congress proposed the imposition of a per capita cap and block grants for Medicaid, we learned that our failure to expand Medicaid put us at a disadvantage.

I would like the opportunity to work with you on a proposal that will be palatable both politically and practically for you and your colleagues. Just as we have done with other major issues facing our Commonwealth like balancing the budget, transportation, and education, I believe we can work together on this urgent matter.

I ask that you participate in a dialogue with my team on a path forward. My Chief of Staff, Paul Reagan, is your point of contact on this matter. I hope these conversations can occur by the end of October so as to inform my budget development process.

As you know, I will not be here when this budget is finalized and implemented. But, this is not about me. This is about the people of the Commonwealth getting the health care coverage they need and deserve. This is about bringing back our own citizens’ taxpayer dollars. And this is about continuing to build the new Virginia economy.

I hope you will join in this important conversation.

         
 

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