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State House Republicans in Virginia back Medicaid expansion

State House Republicans in Virginia back Medicaid expansion
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The Republican-controlled House of Delegates in Virginia has thrown its support behind Medicaid expansion after years of resisting it.

The lawmakers recommended an expansion of the health program for the poor through their draft state budget. 

The proposal would expand eligibility for Medicaid to Virginia residents who earn up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, impacting about 300,000 people. 

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But there's a catch — the budget proposal would also require Medicaid recipients seek work training and contribute to their coverage. 

Republicans called the work requirements a compromise with new Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam.

However, the proposal might face a tough sell in the state Senate, where Republicans didn't include Medicaid expansion in the budget proposal it passed out of committee Sunday. 

The Republican-controlled state House had rejected calls from Democrats to expand Medicaid throughout the entire four-year term of previous Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D).

Northam made expanding Medicaid once of his primary priorities and said he would be willing to compromise with Republicans.

ObamaCare gave states the option to expand their Medicaid programs to cover more low-income adults, with the federal government picking up most of the tab.

Thirty-three states, including D.C., have expanded their Medicaid programs, with mostly Republican-led states resisting.