The U.S. Supreme Court ruled over the summer that provisions of the ACA requiring states to expand their Medicaid programs to 133 percent of the federal poverty level were optional.
If states choose to expand their versions of the health care program for low income Americans the federal government will pay 100 percent of the costs for the first three years - federal funding would then drop to 90 percent.
“When the Supreme Court first gave states the ability to opt out of Medicaid expansion, I expressed my belief that the Commonwealth should not move forward with expansion until two conditions were met," Bolling said. "First, we had to make certain that Virginia could afford its share of the costs of the proposed expansion; and second, we wanted to achieve fundamental reforms in the way Medicaid operates to make the program more effective and efficient. That remains my position. However, in recent months we have developed a more complete picture of the overall business case for Medicaid reform and expansion, and I believe the mounting evidence supports moving forward with expansion, subject to our ability to obtain acceptable waivers from the federal government to implement critical Medicaid reforms.”
The Republican Bolling, who is pondering an independent run for governor, noted that studies now show expanding Medicaid in Virginia will create roughly 30,000 jobs; save the state more than $300 million in general fund revenue from 2014 to 2018; and give medical coverage to more than 300,000 of the state's currently uninsured.
“With this more complete picture of the business case for Medicaid expansion in hand, it is my view that the right public and fiscal policy for the Commonwealth is to move forward with the proposed expansion of Medicaid, conditioned on our ability to obtain authority from the federal government to implement acceptable reforms to our Medicaid program," Bolling said.
Bolling support may have come too late as a Republican Sen. Frank Wagner of Virginia Beach struck his bill that would have expanded Medicaid during a Senate committee meeting.