Connolly Introduces Medicaid Expansion Bill
Today, Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-VA) introduced the Medicaid Expansion Incentive Act, legislation that would allow funds designated for states that have opted out of Medicaid expansion to be transferred to states that are participating in the expansion effort. The unspent federal funds could be used to potentially maintain a 100 percent federal match for expansion costs, increase payments to hospitals that have high rates of indigent care, or help further defray state administrative costs associated with Medicaid expansion.
“In essence, my bill says ‘use it or lose it,’ and provides an additional incentive for states to participate,” said Connolly. “It makes no sense to leave that money on the table, or even worse let it go to a neighboring state.”
“Last week’s devastating health care defeat for the House majority made clear that the Affordable Care Act is the law of the land. Now states that had originally refused Medicaid expansion, like Virginia, are reconsidering that decision,” Connolly added. “Currently, 19 states have refused Medicaid expansion, leaving millions of Americans who otherwise could have health care exposed. My bill will offer an additional incentive for states to accept this incredible opportunity to provide their constituents affordable health care.”
In Virginia, Governor McAuliffe has announced he will push again to expand Medicaid access. Current estimates show that more than 226,000 Virginians could gain coverage if the General Assembly accepted Medicaid expansion.
“Republicans in Richmond have already allowed four years to be wasted and more than $10.4 billion to go unclaimed. It is unconscionable that the General Assembly would fight the Governor on this win-win opportunity.”
In 2012, Connolly sent a letter to Governor Bob McDonnell urging Virginia to accept Medicaid expansion. Republican Governors across the country have defended Medicaid expansion as fiscally responsible. Former Arizona Governor Jan Brewer said, “it weighs heavy on my heart when she thinks of the current Republican plan to repeal and replace…It just really affects our most vulnerable, our elderly, our childless adults, or chronically mentally ill, our drug addicted. It would devastate their lives.” Ohio Governor John Kasich also reiterated last week that Medicaid expansion should be maintained.
“We should be looking for bipartisan solutions that improve the Affordable Care Act,” said Connolly. “This is one simple and easy solution.”
Text of the bill can be found here.