Governor Bob McDonnell sent the following letter this afternoon to United States Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius detailing and explaining recent legislative actions in the Commonwealth regarding the Medicaid program.
In the letter the Governor states:
"The recently passed budget of Virginia contains language outlining a series of reforms that must be completed to the satisfaction of a new legislative commission prior to consideration of Medicaid expansion. Some media outlets and elected officials have labeled this as approving Medicaid expansion in Virginia. This is absolutely incorrect.
"The language of the budget actually places a firewall against expansion consideration, unless real, sustainable cost saving reforms are implemented at the state and federal level. Members of the commission have already been appointed by the House of Delegates, and several have already expressed deep concern about expansion. Additionally, my office is currently reviewing the budget language to see what changes may be necessary. Final legislative budget votes occur on April 3, 2013 during the reconvened session of the General Assembly.
"As Governor, while the decision currently rests with me on whether or not to expand, I am not going to do so given the vast reform required to make our program cost effective. We are just beginning the process of designing and implementing the real, long term, cost saving Medicaid system reforms necessary to ensure the citizens that our Medicaid program is well managed, entrepreneurial, and efficient. My view of necessary reform for our state and nation may be more comprehensive than what is currently contained in the budget. I attach for your review a summary of the kinds of reforms we contemplate being needed in Virginia before a governor or a legislative commission might even consider a program expansion. We have just one chance to actually fix the program so that it serves people well, but doesn't contribute more to the national debt, or produce unsustainable future increases in state general fund expenditures. Thus, please do not include Virginia on any list of states that have acted to expand Medicaid, as that would be inaccurate."
Full letter only available in PDF, see source for link to the document.