Suing to block health reform, Virginia moves ahead with implementation

Virginia might be suing the federal government to block parts of the Democrats' new healthcare law, but that's not stopping GOP leaders from moving ahead with implementation of the reforms.  

Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell (R ) on Monday named the members of an advisory council charged with recommending strategies to lower health costs and expand access to care statewide.

Such steps are vital, McDonnell warned, not only because healthcare costs are skyrocketing in general, but also because the new healthcare reform law will make things worse in particular, he claimed.

"This group of leaders will help us plan for the future of healthcare in Virginia, and the growing costs that will have a significant impact on our budget and our taxpayers unless we act proactively and wisely today," McDonnell said in a statement. 

"The tremendous rate of growth in Medicaid spending in Virginia, which is only going to increase due to federal health care reform, is unsustainable. I look forward to their recommendations and work in the months ahead." 

The 24-member panel will focus its energies on six central topics: Medicaid reform; insurance market reform; healthcare delivery and payment reform; capacity; healthcare technology; and the perspective of purchasers.

The panel "will go beyond federal health reform and recommend other innovative healthcare solutions that meet the needs of Virginia's citizens and government," according to McDonnell's office.

The panel arrives just a few weeks after a federal judge ruled that Virginia's lawsuit challenging the individual insurance mandate can proceed.