Virginia General Assembly Debating Whether to Expand Medicaid

By: Brendan Ponton Email
By: Brendan Ponton Email

HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) -- The Virginia General Assembly is considering whether to expand Medicaid in the state, which is an option states have under the Affordable Care Act.

If Virginia expanded, another 400,000 people could be eligible for Medicaid. This group would consist of mostly lower income residents.

The federal government is supposed to pay for the expansion for the first three years under the health care law, but some legislators are worried the money won't actually be there and it could end up costing states a lot of money.

Emmett Hanger, a Republican state senator from the 24th district and the chairman of the commission said he's focused on the local impact.

"I see the need that's there, particularly for rural areas. I view it in part an issue that shouldn't be split along Republican and Democrat lines. In part, the initiative will be split, I think along regional lines. For rural legislators, we should be looking for ways to fund our rural hospitals," said Hanger.

He said it's too early to say if the state should expand, but that he wants to see Medicaid reform.

Steve Landes, a local state delegate and the vice chairman of the commission said he's against it because of the dysfunction in Washington.

There is a public hearing on the issue next week in Richmond.

If you have questions or comments about Medicaid expansion, you can submit them online by tomorrow at and they will go to the state's Medicaid Innovation and Reform Commission. is happy to provide a forum for commenting and discussion. Please respect and abide by the house rules:

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