Virginia Gov. signs budget, vetos Medicaid amendment

Gov. Terry McAuliffe will try to bypass the Republican-controlled legislature to expand health coverage for hundreds of thousands of uninsured residents. Medicaid expansion developments in Wisconsin, California and Pennsylvania are also tracked.

The Washington Post: Gov. Terry McAuliffe Vetoes Portions Of Virginia Budget, Vows To Expand Medicaid
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe vetoed portions of the state budget Friday and vowed to defy the legislature by expanding Medicaid without its approval, setting up a legal showdown with Republicans even as he averted a government shutdown. ... Legislators will act on McAuliffe's vetoes Monday when they reconvene in Richmond, and the outcome is uncertain. The GOP's majority is large enough in the House of Delegates to override a veto, but not in the Senate (Vozzella, Laris and Weiner, 6/20).

The Richmond Times-Dispatch: McAuliffe To Sign Budget, Veto Medicaid Amendment
Gov. Terry McAuliffe will try to bypass the General Assembly to expand health coverage for hundreds of thousands of uninsured Virginians, while attempting to block legislative priorities ranging from judicial appointments to an overhaul of the Capitol complex in Richmond. McAuliffe said Friday that he will sign a two-year state budget that does not include his top legislative priority -; expansion of Medicaid -; in order to protect public services and Virginia's triple-A bond rating in the face of a projected $1.55 billion revenue shortfall. But the governor also discarded a politically paralyzed legislative commission on Medicaid reform as a way to expand health coverage. He promised instead to move forward without legislative consent to take advantage of billions in federal funding for the uninsured under the Affordable Care Act (Martz, 6/20).

The Associated Press: Va. Governor Vows To Expand Medicaid On His Own
Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe vowed Friday to bypass the General Assembly and expand Medicaid eligibility for about 400,000 low-income residents on his own, a move Republican lawmakers immediately promised to fight. At a Capitol news conference, McAuliffe denounced leaders of the GOP-controlled House of Delegates, saying they are unwilling to help the state's poor (Suderman, 6/20).

Reuters: Virginia Governor Will Veto Bid To Block Medicaid Expansion
Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe said Friday he will veto a Medicaid amendment to the state budget advanced by a Republican-dominated legislature that could prevent him from expanding access to the program through executive action. Expanding Medicaid, a federal-state healthcare program for the poor, has been the Democratic governor's top legislative objective since taking office in January, as well as the centerpiece of his gubernatorial campaign against a Tea Party-backed opponent.(Robertson, 6/20).

Wisconsin State Journal: Wisconsin Gubernatorial Race Spotlights Medicaid Issue
A Republican governor, Tommy Thompson, started Wisconsin's BadgerCare health insurance for low-income families in 1999. A Democratic governor, Jim Doyle, expanded it in 2008. The parties have disagreed on details over the years, but no aspect of the Medicaid program has been as explosive as a further expansion allowed this year through the federal Affordable Care Act. Republican Gov. Scott Walker rejected the expansion. Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke said she would accept it (6/22).

The Associated Press: California Expands Medi-Cal While Continuing Cuts
California has been praised by health advocates for its early embrace of the federal healthcare expansion, but the new state budget has raised questions about its commitment to getting the poorest residents into doctors' offices and dentists' chairs. Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday signed a budget for the 2014-15 fiscal year that accommodates an influx of uninsured residents into Medi-Cal, the state's Medicaid program. But at Brown's request, the Legislature left in place a 10% recession-era cut to most doctors, dentists and other healthcare providers who treat Medi-Cal patients, many whom are children (6/21).

The Associated Press: Pa. Gov Nets Nine Insurers For Medicaid Alternative
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett's administration said Friday that insurers are showing strong interest in the Republican's plan to extend private health insurance to hundreds of thousands of working poor and pay for it with federal Medicaid expansion dollars. Nine insurers have signed up to provide the Medicaid-subsidized insurance in Pennsylvania, though only one would cover the entire state, Corbett's office said (6/21).

The Philadelphia Inquirer: Corbett Names Insurers For Medicaid Plan
The Corbett administration on Friday announced the list of insurance companies that had met its qualifications to provide coverage to hundreds of thousands of the uninsured by early 2015. ... The companies that met the bid requirements in the southeast are United Healthcare, Aetna Better Health, Health Partners, Gateway Health, and Vista. If Corbett's "Healthy Pennsylvania" plan receives federal approval, the uninsured individuals could be enrolled by Jan. 1 (Worden, 6/22).

http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis article was reprinted from with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

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