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Governor McAuliffe announces plan to expand healthcare

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Posted at 12:51 PM, Sep 08, 2014
and last updated 2014-09-08 12:54:11-04

RICHMOND, Va. – Governor Terry McAuliffe (D – Virginia) announced plans to expand health care services to thousands of Virginians at a press conference Monday morning. Earlier this year, McAuliffe lost out on his goal to expand Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

The General Assembly passed the budget in June that did not include Medicaid expansion.

McAuliffe had campaigned on expanding healthcare coverage to 400,00 Virginians without health insurance using federal funding. Monday, he announced “A Healthy Virginia.” That is what he called his action plan that uses his executive authority to expand healthcare service to 200,000 people.

According to a news release from the Governor’s Office, the plan includes these 10 steps:

1. Covering people with serious mental illness through the Governor’s Access Plan (GAP).
2. Signing up more children for Medicaid and FAMIS.
3. Signing up more Virginians for insurance on the Federal Marketplace.
4. Informing Virginians of their health options with an improved website.
5. Allowing eligible state workers to insure their children through FAMIS.
6. Providing dental benefits to pregnant women in Medicaid and FAMIS.
7. Accelerating veterans’ access to care.
8. Transforming health care delivery through an innovation grant.
9. Improving coordination of care for people with serious mental illness.
10. Reducing prescription drug and heroin abuse.

During his remarks in front of a large crowd inside the Patrick Henry building, McAuliffe urged Republican leadership in the General Assembly to present its plan for the future of healthcare coverage in Virginia during a special session of the General Assembly, slated to begin later this month.

McAuliffe said he is willing to meet with lawmakers “any time” to discuss the options.

Republican lawmakers have called relying on federal money to expand healthcare coverage a risky move since there is no guarantee the money will be there moving forward.