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8:16 am
Fri May 30, 2014

Virginia Inches Toward Medicaid Expansion

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A proposed small procedural change to a legislative commission may be the starting point of a compromise that ends a months-long impasse over the Virginia state budget.

Republican state Sen. Emmett Hanger proposed Thursday changing how the Medicaid Innovation and Reform Commission votes on whether to expand Medicaid eligibility. Under current law, the commission must vote to expand the health insurance program for the poor before any expansion. Hanger is proposing the state expand Medicaid unless a majority of lawmakers who sit on the commission vote against it.

House Republicans, who oppose Medicaid expansion, said they would consider the proposal. Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who like Hanger and most Democratic lawmakers favors expanded eligibility, said he was encouraged by it.

The Medicaid debate has delayed passage of a state budget.