Virginia House embraces Medicaid expansion in budget

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – Virginia’s Republican-controlled House of Delegates is embracing Medicaid expansion after years of opposition.

The House included Medicaid expansion in the proposed state budget Sunday, saying President Barack Obama’s health care law is here to stay and it’s no longer reasonable to block health coverage for about 300,000 low-income Virginians. Republicans want to mandate work requirements and cost-sharing provisions for some Medicaid recipients.

Republicans had blocked Medicaid expansion for years, saying its long-term costs were unsustainable. The change of heart comes after several new Democratic House lawmakers won election last year after campaigning specifically on expanding Medicaid. Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam has made expansion a top priority.

But the GOP-controlled Senate has indicated it still opposes expansion, setting up a potential stalemate in the final weeks of the 2018 legislative session.

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