Governor Pauses Work Requirement

Was Part of Deal For Medicaid Expansion

WRVA News
December 04, 2019 - 1:56 pm

(Matt Demlein, WRVA)

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Richmond, Va. (Newsradiowrva.com) - Governor Ralph Northam (D) has announced a pause in the work requirement for Medicaid, a major piece of the deal that allowed for Medicaid expansion to take place.  Several Republican Delegates agreed to vote for expansion in part because of the requirement.  The Commonwealth was negotiating with the Federal Government to allow the requirement to be included.

In announcing the pause, Northam said.  "Virginians made it clear they want more access to health care, not less. Given the changed make-up of the General Assembly and based on conversations with new leadership, it is unlikely Virginia will move forward with funding a program that could cause tens of thousands of Virginians to lose health care coverage. Other states that have tried to implement these requirements are also facing legal threats and rising costs. For these reasons, I’ve instructed our Medicaid Director to pause negotiations — I look forward to working with the new legislature to increase access to the high-quality, affordable healthcare Virginians deserve."

Republicans are unhappy with the decision.  Incoming House Minority Leader Todd Gilbert (R-Shenandoah), who did not support expansion, says, “The agreement Governor Northam reached with Republicans was made in good faith. He gave his personal assurance that the long-term policy of the Commonwealth would be Medicaid expansion with a work requirement. Broken promises like this are the reason so many people hate politics.”

Democrats take control of the General Assembly in January.