Supporters Of Virginia Medicaid Expansion Call It Anything But An Expansion | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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Supporters Of Virginia Medicaid Expansion Call It Anything But An Expansion

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Supporters of expanding Medicaid to 400,000 uninsured Virginians have a new strategy — not calling it an expansion.

Some Republicans in the state Senate are pushing a plan to use private insurers to expand health care to the uninsured — a plan known as the "Virginia Marketplace." But after Republican Sen. John Watkins introduced a bill outlining how it might work, House Republicans started calling it Obamacare by a different name.

"Calling it Medicaid expansion, on the one hand, describes it. But I would suggest to you that there's a more accurate way to describe what we are about. And that is insuring uninsured Virginians," said Fairfax County Democrat Ken Plum.

For now, it seems, House Republicans are solid in their opposition to expanding Medicaid  even if it's done through private insurers. But according to University of Mary Washington professor Stephen Farnsworth, a deal is still theoretically possible.

"As long as legislation is on the table, the stars may align. It's not a high probability of success. It never was," he says.

Democratic Gov. Terry McAullife has a lot riding on Medicaid expansion — he campaigned in favor it, and if Democrats are not able to cut a deal, millions of Virginia tax money will leave the commonwealth and pay for Medicaid expansion in other states.

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