Medicaid Expansion Crucial, Says Richmond Hospital CEO
Mar 29, 2013
Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) March 28, 2013 – The Virginia General Assembly should expand Medicaid coverage, a major Richmond employer warned.
The Virginia Commonwealth University Health System’s CEO, Dr. Sheldon M. Retchin, recently spoke before a House Appropriations subcommittee, saying the hospital cannot withstand proposed cuts to payments for their care of uninsured Virginians unless the state covers those patients under an expanded Medicaid program.
Elder law attorney Andrew Hook commented, “Beneficiaries of government health benefits are among the most vulnerable segments of the population. It is crucial for the federal government, state government, and our hospitals to work together to ensure the treatment these people need is not put in jeopardy.”
Virginia legislators seek to control long-term costs by reforming the way the state delivers and pays for health care for Medicaid recipients. Retchin recommended that Medicaid expansion be conditioned on federal approval of those reforms and that the two proposals be negotiated simultaneously.
Gov. Bob McDonnell has said that he will not support expanding Medicaid coverage unless significant reforms are passed. His administration is working with federal regulators to get approval for those reforms, and both chambers of the Assembly have relevant bills pending.
Retchin’s warning to the Assembly came on the same day that the state Senate authorized the State Corporation Committee to certify health insurance providers for participation in a health benefits exchange. The creation of such an exchange is mandatory under the Affordable Care Act.
In December 2012, McDonnell said that Virginia would not devise its own state-based exchange and would instead opt for the federal model. At that time, it was unclear whether the state would elect to form a federal-state partnership to create a hybrid exchange.
In a February 14, 2013 letter, McDonnell informed federal health officials that Virginia would operate the federal exchange, affording the state a measure of oversight in the process.
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