Virginia legislature sends Medicaid expansion to governor

Virginia legislature sends Medicaid expansion to governor
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Legislation to expand Medicaid in Virginia is on its way to the governor's desk after the House voted in favor of a state budget late Wednesday.

When Gov. Ralph Northam (D) signs the legislation, Virginia will be the 33rd state, along with Washington, D.C., to expand Medicaid under ObamaCare.

"The loudest voices in this long-standing conversation on Medicaid expansion have been those of Virginians. We have heard you. Thank you," Northam tweeted following the House vote. He is expected to quickly sign the bill.

The Virginia Senate overcame five years of Republican resistance and narrowly passed the budget earlier on Wednesday, setting the stage for the House vote.

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This is the third time this year the Virginia House has passed a state budget that would expand Medicaid, but the Republicans in the Senate previously blocked the attempts in February and April.

Some GOP senators objected to expansion because they worried the Trump administration could renege on ObamaCare's funding agreement, leaving Virginia to cover the entirety of the expansion costs.

That changed Wednesday, as enough Republicans were convinced to vote with Democrats to expand coverage for an estimated 400,000 additional people.

Even though Democrats and ObamaCare advocates came away with a victory, the legislation still has conservative strings attached.

The plan calls for imposing work requirements and charging premiums for people above the federal poverty line, but the full details are still being worked out.

--Updated at 8:19 p.m.