RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The Virginia House and Senate are split on whether to accept federal Medicaid funds to provide health insurance to as much as 400,000 low-income residents.
The two chambers voted Thursday to approve their respective biennial budget proposals.
The GOP-controlled House voted against expanding Medicaid eligibility. The Democratically controlled Senate, with the support of a few Republicans, voted for the expanded coverage.
The new federal health care law would reimburse states that expand Medicaid eligibility for lower-income residents. The Supreme Court ruled that the expansions are optional.
Democrats have argued that an expanded Medicaid program that emphasizes private insurers as envisioned in the Senate’s plan would help Virginia’s working poor, hospitals, and overall economy.
Republicans have said the current program needs to be reformed before any large-scale expansion.