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MD And VA Senators Back Health Care Legislation

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By Matt Laslo

All of Maryland and Virginia's Senators support the current health reform legislation, but some lawmakers are still looking for changes.

Maryland already covers about 800,000 people under Medicaid. Federal legislation would add another 150,000. "We are trying to provide universal access and expanding the existing programs is a very good way to do it," says Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.).

The move leaves states responsible for some of the cost, but it's unclear how much. Mikulski says she'd like to see more federal aid offered to pay for the expansion.

Republicans are up in arms because three states won more than $1 billion to offset the increase. Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) says the GOP doesn't have much room to complain. "I wish there were more folks on the other side that would actually be a part of trying to get to yes, rather than just being no," says Warner.

Democratic leaders are still working to keep their party together to get the health bill passed before Christmas.

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