VICPP has long had a focus on ensuring that all Virginians have access to high-quality, affordable healthcare. While the Affordable Care Act gets banged around in Congress, we will continue to press for expanding Medicaid to reach the greatest number of people who fall into the health coverage gap in Virginia. There remain approximately 400,000 Virginians that would benefit from making Medicaid more available and federal funds are already set aside. Most of the people that are left in the coverage gap have jobs and simply earn too much to benefit from the current Medicaid program in Virginia (helps persons earning less than 33% of the federal poverty line).
By all accounts, Virginia would greatly benefit if we expand the Medicaid program to close the gap in healthcare coverage. Our current system is straining to care for uninsured individuals and families. The Virginia Hospital & Health Care Association, the Medical Society of Virginia, and most every other interested group including labor organizations and the Virginia Chamber of Commerce all agree that we need to expand Medicaid.
Governor McAuliffe has on several occasion tried to add Medicaid Expansion into the state budget, but this been rejected by the General Assembly. Fortunately this issue is still on the table, if teetering on the edge. In April, the General Assembly created a bipartisan joint subcommittee on Health and Human Services, which will bring options to the full legislature in January. The members of the subcommittee are (Senate): Hanger, Dunnavant, J.Howell and Barker; (House): Landes, O’Bannon, James and C.Jones. Please contact these legislators and let them know that all Virginians deserve equal opportunity to healthcare coverage.
VICPP will also continue to educate people about enrollment in the federal health insurance marketplace. We will also be working to identify program and practice changes that will improve network adequacy, which refers to the ability of a health plan to provide enrollees with timely access to a sufficient number of in-network providers, including primary care and specialty physicians, as well as other healthcare services included in the benefit contract. States have a variety of options available to maintain robust health insurance markets by balancing access needs with the goals of controlling costs and attracting a healthy number of insurers.