Gridlock over: Va. lawmakers approve Medicaid expansion

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Virginia lawmakers voted to expand Medicaid coverage to low income Virginians under the Affordable Care Act.

Medicaid expansion in Virginia, however, will come with strings.

Virginia officials are gearing up for massive bureaucratic blitz to put as many as 400,000 new adults in the state's Medicaid program.

Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam is expected to sign the budget in coming days.

Wednesday's voting marked the end of a more than four-year battle over whether Virginia should expand the publicly funded health care program for the poor.

Senate Republicans said Sen.

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The turning level got here in April when State Senator Frank Wagner, a Republican from Virginia Seaside, stated he had modified his place and would assist Medicaid growth, becoming a member of one different Republican, Senator Emmett W. Hanger Jr. of Augusta, and all 19 Senate Democrats. The other would be to seek a waiver from President Donald Trump's administration to impose a series of conditions on eligibility, including a work requirement and cost-sharing provisions for recipients.

Health care advocacy groups praised the move and said low income Virginians who can not afford health care coverage will finally receive access to care without jeopardizing their financial future.

After the Senate vote, the house of delegates approved the measure by 67 to 31 as the chamber erupted in cheers.

"The House Democratic Caucus has worked for almost 6 years, alongside our Senate Democratic colleagues, Governor Northam and Governor McAuliffe, to make this day possible". "The budget the Senate passed today expands health care to Virginians, invests in core economic priorities and strengthens the cash reserves we need for a rainy day". Rick Santorum (R), who has a home in Virginia, paid a visit to the Virginia Legislature Wednesday, according to Daily Press reporter Dave Ress. Republicans in Virginia's General Assembly have resisted Medicaid expansion for years, despite the fact that 61 percent of residents supported it as early as September 2014.

The Richmond-Times Dispatch first reported the agreement.

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The Virginia General Assembly on Wednesday approved expansion of Medicaid, the state-federal program for the low income. Under this formula, Virginia will receive about $2 billion a year.

Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment (R-Williamsburg) had pushed for passage of a "clean budget" that did not include federal funding to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Norment criticized the spending plan in a statement released after the Senate's final vote.

NBC12's Heather Sullivan is following today's votes in the General Assembly and will have more on 12News at 5 and 6.

"We will be ready to resume that fight when we convene for the next regular session in January 2019", he added.

Teresa Gardner Tyson, executive director of the Health Wagon in far Southwest Virginia, said Medicaid expansion will help improve her community's overall health and help her clinic focus more on providing care rather than chasing grant money. Several anti-expansion Republicans have said the provisions in the state budget are toothless and amount only to a "work suggestion". And health clinics are readying for a huge overhaul of how the state delivers cares for the poor.

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The debate has been going on for years in Virginia. Members of Virginia's hospital community extend honest thanks to all those who have been instrumental in this effort.

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