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Virginia Panel Meets To Decide Whether To Add 400,000 Residents To Medicaid

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In Virginia, a new panel is meeting to decide whether the commonwealth has met the criteria to expand health insurance for the poor.

Last week Loudoun County businessman David LaRock defeated longtime Delegate Joe May in a Republican primary by challenging his support of a transportation package that adds more than a billion dollars in new taxes every year. It was part of a vote swapping operation to get support for expanding Medicaid, which LaRock also opposes.

"It's just an open-ended transaction with an extremely high level of risk for the state of Virginia. The concern is that we will be trapped in a budget crisis beyond anything we've seen before," he said.

A new panel is meeting in Richmond this week to determine whether conditions have been met to expand Medicaid. Arlington Delegate Patrick Hope says he believes Virginia is on track to expand Medicaid, which was a key provision of President Obama's health care overhaul.

"Reforms need to be in place before we expand Medicaid, and if we are doing this we need to make sure that the system is as efficient as possible. And right now, Medicaid is not as efficient and effective as it needs to be," he said.

If the commission determines cost-containment goals have been met, the program would cover 400,000 new recipients.

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