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Virginia debates Medicaid expansion with work requirement

If approved, the state would extend Medicaid benefits under the Affordable Care Act, while also enacting the Trump Administration's work requirement.

Susan Morse, Senior Editor

Virginia is poised to become the 33rd state to adopt Medicaid expansion, but with the caveat that recipients work or fulfill education or training requirements and pay a portion of their medical bills. 

Hospitals in the 32 states and the District of Columbia where Medicaid expansion has been adopted have seen a drop in the number of uninsured, which has meant less uncompensated care and more stable revenue.

[Also: Another upside of Medicaid expansion: Better, more timely surgical care]

For Virginia, adopting expansion under the Affordable Care Act would infuse more than $3 billion into the state from federal funding to extend health insurance to 300,000 uninsured residents, according to local reports.

The Republican-controlled House of Delegates in Virginia supports Medicaid expansion but it is expected to face an uphill battle in the state Senate.

Medicaid expansion has been controversial since the ACA passed. Things grew more contentious when the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recently released guidelines for states to apply for waivers to require able-bodied Medicaid recipients to work or perform community service to receive the benefit. 

Fifteen Medicaid recipients in Kentucky, in fact, filed a lawsuit against the Department of Health and Human Services after CMS granted its first waiver to the state.

Twitter: @SusanJMorse
Email the writer: susan.morse@himssmedia.com

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