Virginia Hospitals Lobbying For Medicaid Expansion | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

Virginia Hospitals Lobbying For Medicaid Expansion

Hospitals in Virginia are warning state lawmakers that they'll be in big financial trouble if the legislature does not expand Medicaid.

The Affordable Care Act set out to provide health care coverage for almost everyone. The bill promised affordable health insurance, and for those who made too little money, states were supposed to expand their Medicaid programs, and the federal government would pick up the tab.

"Right now the uninsured come into Virginia hospitals every single day and get care in the emergency department," says Katherine Webb, senior vice president for the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association, which represents 105 hospitals. She says the Affordable Care Act assumed those medical centers would save big bucks with Medicaid covering low-income adults.

"These are folks that work, by and large. They are waitresses, they are bus drivers, they are other kinds of retail employment, and they make under 138 percent of the poverty level. They're making $12,000 a year," she says.

Since hospitals would be spared that expense, authors of the Affordable Care Act figured the feds could stop making supplemental payments to medical centers caring for poor patients and could scale back on Medicare reimbursement.

But if Medicaid isn't expanded, Webb says that Virginia hospitals will lose millions of federal dollars each year and will still be forced to care for uninsured patients, so they're lobbying like crazy.

"And we have a pretty broad coalition of business group including the state chambers and some local chambers, other health care providers and patient advocates, and we've been spending a fair amount of time educating delegates and senators about the economic impact for Virginia," she says.

Behind the scenes, she says, the Virginia Department of Health is preparing for a possible expansion, hoping to be ready if the legislature gives the go-ahead.

NPR

What's A Writer Gotta Do To Get A Little Health Care Around Here?

When you're making plans to become a famous author, just remember that you're going to want health care — especially when 40 rolls around and your body is no longer made of rubber.
NPR

When Zero Doesn't Mean Zero: Trans Fats Linger In Food

One in 10 packaged foods still contains trans fats, according to a new study. The problematic oils give foods a rich taste and texture and extend shelf life, but have been linked to heart disease.
NPR

Rep. Ryan Calls For 'Culture Of Inclusion' To Tackle Poverty

Congressman and former Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan discusses his new book, The Way Forward: Renewing the American Idea.
NPR

New Amazon Series Pilots Fall Short Of A TV Revolution

NPR TV critic Eric Deggans ranks Amazon's new batch of five series pilots, asking why none of them seem break the rules of TV quite enough to draw attention.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.