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Virginia Governor Appoints Health-Care Panel

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By Michael Pope

Even as Virginia’s attorney general prepares to fight President Obama’s health-care reform in federal court, the state government is preparing itself for dealing with changes the new law will bring about.

Monday, Republican Governor Bob McDonnell appointed a panel to help ease the transition.

Members of the Virginia Health Reform Initiative Advisory Council were announced today at a news conference in Richmond.

That's where the governor explained he created the group to help prepare Virginia for the implementation of federal health reform by planning for the expansion of Medicaid eligibility.

Calling the expected increase of Medicaid spending “unsustainable,” McDonnell says he looks forward to hearing the council’s recommendations in the months ahead.

One member of the council is Patrick Hope, a Democrat who sits on the Virginia House of Delegates representing Arlington.

Hope says it’s time to put aside partisan differences over the new law and work together to transform health care delivery in a way that improves patient outcomes while reducing costs.

The council is set to hold its first meeting later this week in Roanoke.

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