The state Legislature concluded its regular session without a budget, mainly due to disagreement on whether to expand Medicaid. The House is in favor of it, while the Senate hasn’t budged from its stance against expansion.
The Associated Press:
Northam Sets Date For Special Session On State Budget
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam is calling state lawmakers back to work next month to pass a state budget. Northam, a Democrat, announced Tuesday that he’s calling a special session on April 11. The move comes after lawmakers adjourned the regular 2018 session last week without passing a state spending plan. The GOP-led General Assembly is split on whether to expand Medicaid to about 300,000 low-income Virginians. The House supports expansion while the Senate does not. (3/13)
The Washington Post:
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam Orders Lawmakers Back For A Special Session To Pass A Budget.
“Virginians sent us to Richmond to work together to make life better for every family, no matter who they are or where they live,” said Northam, who won office last year on a promise to expand the program. “We can live up to that responsibility by passing a budget that expands health care to hundreds of thousands of Virginians who need it.” During the regular session, the House passed a budget bill that called for expanding Medicaid eligibility to as many as 400,000 uninsured Virginians. The Senate’s budget plan did not expand the program, which currently covers 1 million residents. (Vozzella, 3/13)
Lawmakers In Virginia May Pass An ACA Medicaid Expansion This Year
At a recent rally outside the state Capitol in Richmond, Governor Northam continued his campaign message. “Are you all ready to get this done?” he called to the crowd’s cheers. “Are you ready to expand coverage?” A December poll showed over 80 percent of likely Virginia voters support an expansion. “I think the House heard that message, loud and clear. I think the Senate still needs to listen a little bit,” Northam says. (Pauly, 3/14)
Schapiro: On Medicaid Expansion, The Doctor Is In
Barely 48 hours after the legislature again quit Richmond without adopting a budget, a lobbying group for local government, the Virginia Municipal League, sent an email blast to city and town officials, urging them to press lawmakers to stop pussyfooting. The two-year, $115 billion budget is on hold because of a Republican-versus-Republican impasse over Medicaid expansion that will force a special session of the General Assembly, beginning April 11. (Jeff Schapiro, 3/13)
In other Medicaid news —
Medicaid Pause Button Locked Up By KanCare Expansion Debate
The mere threat of launching debate on Medicaid expansion in Kansas has caged up a measure to suspend, rather than terminate, coverage for people while they’re locked up. So legislators have created a policy work-around that doles out some extra money with direction to the state healthy agency to keep that coverage waiting for people when they get free. The waylaid bill would let people sent to prison or mental health facilities press pause on their benefits and then pick them up again when they’re released. Under current law, Medicaid recipients need to reapply for benefits. (Fox, 3/13)
Ohio Legislature Will Look Into CVS Caremark Billing Practices
State officials on Wednesday are expected to announce “efforts to update” the industry that handles prescription-drug benefits for millions of Ohioans. The news comes a day after The Dispatch reported concerns by some pharmacists that a significant player in the industry, CVS Caremark, is charging Medicaid high prices and paying pharmacies low prices for the same drugs, which they say drives out retail competition. (Schladen, 3/13)
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