HARRISONBURG — The state’s Medicaid Innovation and Reform Commission, which is led by two Valley lawmakers, is accepting comments from the public for three more weeks.
The comment period lasts until Oct. 16, the Wednesday before the commission’s next meeting in Richmond. Comments must be submitted as pdf files to the group’s website.
Residents unable to create a pdf document, may submit their comments by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, a public hearing will be held at 1 p.m. Oct. 15 in Richmond.
Hundreds of comments are already posted on the website, each one attributed to the person who submitted it.
Sen. Emmett Hanger, R-Mount Solon, and Del. Steve Landes, R-Weyers Cave, are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the commission.
“I’m hoping that we may actually get some suggestions to how we can make Medicaid better with our existing system,” Landes said.
The 10-member group of senators and delegates is responsible for overseeing Medicaid reforms and whether the implementation of those changes warrants an expansion of the program to cover an estimated 400,000 additional uninsured Virginians under the federal Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare.
Medicaid helps with the health care costs for low-income families with children, the disabled and others. The federal government reimburses Virginia for half the cost and is supposed to pay 100 percent of expansion costs for the first three years and 90 percent each year after that.
While supporters tout the benefits of an expansion of coverage to the uninsured, others, including Landes, have concerns whether the federal government can be counted on for funding.
The cost for Medicaid is about $7 billion a year in Virginia — roughly 20 percent of the state’s budget — and expansion, Landes has said, could be another $900 million.
The panel meets every other month. It plans to make recommendations to the General Assembly when the 2014 session convenes in January, Landes said.
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