Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) on Thursday signed a budget that includes Medicaid expansion, making Virginia the 33rd state to expand the program under ObamaCare.
The signing caps a years-long battle in the state over Medicaid expansion, which Democrats have pushed for but Republicans long resisted. After Democratic gains in the state legislature and Northam’s victory last year, enough Republicans got on board with Medicaid expansion for it to pass the General Assembly.
The expansion is estimated to provide health insurance to up to 400,000 people.
“As a doctor and a public servant, I believe making sure all Virginians have the access to the care they need to be healthy and productive is both a moral and economic imperative,” Northam said in a statement. “This budget will empower nearly 400,000 Virginians with access to health insurance by expanding Medicaid, without crowding out other general fund spending priorities.”
Advocates are hoping more states, especially Utah and Idaho, where the issue will be on the ballot, will expand Medicaid this November. Activists in Nebraska are seeking to get Medicaid expansion on the ballot as well.
“After years of working on this issue that affects families across the Commonwealth, we are thrilled that hundreds of thousands of Virginians who currently lack basic health care coverage will finally have some peace of mind,” said Virginia Democratic Sens. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KainePanic begins to creep into Democratic talks on Biden agenda Congress facing shutdown, debt crisis with no plan B Democrats confront 'Rubik's cube on steroids' MORE and Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerPanic begins to creep into Democratic talks on Biden agenda Democrats surprised, caught off guard by 'framework' deal Schumer announces Senate-House deal on tax 'framework' for .5T package MORE in a statement.