Legislators returned to Richmond today for the start of Special Session. The General Assembly adjourned last month without a 2018-20 spending plan and with approximately $600 million in differences between House and Senate budgets.

The budget impasse resulted from the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, a proposal that was included in the House version but not the Senate.

The House proposal ties expansion to several reform measures, including work requirements, cost sharing, hospital tax assessments, and a provision to discontinue expansion if the federal government breaks its funding commitment.

The fate of Medicaid expansion in Virginia is still uncertain, but recent statements from two key lawmakers signals the Senate may have the support needed for passage.

The Chamber’s longstanding position has been in support of responsible efforts to reform and expand Virginia’s Medicaid program, including market-based alternatives to limit the shifting of escalating and unsustainable costs of uncompensated care on the business community.

Along with several other chambers of commerce throughout Virginia, the Roanoke Regional Chamber was quoted (below) in a January 24, 2018 release from the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association. The article outlines the economic and healthcare benefits associated with stronger coverage.

Roanoke Regional Chamber President and Chief Executive Officer Joyce Waugh noted that “a healthy workforce with fewer work days lost to illness or injury is a productive workforce, which is a good thing for workers, their families, and employers. This year, Virginia has an opportunity to develop a fiscally responsible plan to cover thousands of uninsured Virginians in a way that protects and improves the economy in which we all participate. Like any business leader would, we encourage policy makers to evaluate the facts and develop solutions that are good for the public, our economy, and the Commonwealth.”

The VA Chamber and ChamberRVA will co-host a forum with Governor Ralph Northam, a national policy expert, and a panel of General Assembly members and business leaders on April 13 at from 12 – 1:30 pm. The program is being livestreamed on the VA Chamber Facebook page at www.facebook.com/VAChamber. Tune in this Friday to learn more about health care, the state budget, and how using federal funds to increase health care coverage impacts Virginia businesses