Over the weekend, a key committee in the Republican-controlled Virginia House of Delegates backed a budget that would have the state opt in to the Affordable Care Act program to cover low-income Americans. For years now, Virginia Republicans have opposed Medicaid expansion — so this new budget is a significant turnaround….
But the Virginia Republicans’ plan to expand Medicaid comes with a catch. State legislators say it would require enrollees to work in order to receive coverage, similar to new the new programs recently rolled out in Kentucky and Indiana.
There is also movement on Medicaid expansion in Kansas:
Senate Bill 38 to #ExpandKanCare passed the Senate Public Health & Welfare Committee on a unanimous vote! Thanks to all Kansans and #ksleg who support this important health policy. On to the Senate floor! @ExpandKanCare
— Sheldon Weisgrau (@ACAResource) February 19, 2018
From my point of view, any time a non-expansion state is able to expand Medicaid to at least 100% Federal Poverty Level (FPL) should be greeted with cheers. The details always matter, but in my moral universe, improving the lives of those facing great challenges with few resources now is almost always better than causing more pain in the hope that a technically better solution may (or may not) come in several years.
If Medicaid expansion in Virginia needs work requirements, than several hundred thousand people will get coverage that they need and some hassle that they don’t need. That is better, in my mind, than have several hundred thousand people going without coverage and still getting a different type of hassle of trying to manage their medical care with insufficient resources. And once Medicaid expansion is in place, the next task is building majorities to make it and the rest of the healthcare system better.