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GA Fails to Extend Session for Budget Talks; McAuliffe Announces Dual Health Program

Governor Terry McAuliffe has announced a major Medicaid reform he says clears the way for some form of expansion, while the House and Senate held procedural votes that set the stage for the General Assembly to adjourn March 8 without a budget.  McAuliffe announced the launch of Commonwealth Coordinated Care, a program that will blend into one plan and coordinate Medicare and Medicaid benefits for 78,000 Virginians now eligible for both programs. Virginia is just the third state in the nation to receive the necessary federal waiver to launch such a plan.  McAuliffe says the plan will save the Commonwealth $126 million and pave the way for Medicaid expansion.  The Governor has been touring hospitals and clinics around the state in an effort to build support for Medicaid expansion. Republicans say that they have included 2.5 percent inflation increases in both years of the budget and doubled the funding for free clinics to bolster the state’s health care safety net.

 Cox also proposed extending the regular session of the General Assembly by 30 days, which he says would put pressure on the Senate to accelerate budget negotiations.  Democratic Senator Don McEachin of Henrico says the House has failed to offer a good faith compromise to the Senate’s private insurance-based Medicaid alternative plan, Marketplace Virginia.  Extending the regular session requires a two-thirds majority in both chambers.  The House approved the measure 70 to 30, only to have it fail in the Senate 20 to 20.