RICHMOND, Va. (June 6, 2018) – After refusing to do so for years, Republicans in Virginia helped Democrats expand Medicaid, and by extension Obamacare.
The Republican-controlled Senate passed a budget bill including Medicaid expansion last week after four GOP senators joined ranks with the Democrats.
Nineteen Republicans also voted in favor of the bill in the House last February.
According to the New York Times, the turning point in the debate came in April when Sen. Frank Wagner (R-Virginia Beach) announced he had changed his position and would support Medicaid expansion, joining Sen. Emmett W. Hanger Jr. (R-Augusta). Sen. Ben Chafin (R-Lebanon) and Sen. Jill Holtzman Vogel (R-Warrenton) also cast yes votes.
Medicaid expansion was a key component of Obamacare. Under the Affordable Care Act, states have the option of expanding Medicaid to people who earn up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, currently $16,643 for an individual. The federal government pledged to pay at least 90% of the cost – although that isn’t guaranteed forever. By expanding Medicaid, the Virginia legislature effectively expanded Obamacare in the state.
As passed, the ACA empowered the federal government to take away current funding to “encourage” states to expand …
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