Virginia's GOP budget writers are worried about the Obamacare repeal bill. Should N.C.'s be?
Posted June 23
Raleigh, N.C. — Virginia legislative leaders are pushing back against the U.S. Senate's Affordable Care Act repeal bill, saying it's unfair to states that didn't expand Medicaid.
What other states didn't expand Medicaid? Well, North Carolina, for starters.
The bill, which became public this week, would phase out federal funding for expansion, but the multi-year draw-down and the way the future federal share of a state's Medicaid funding would be based on past spending essentially punish non-expansion states, Virginia's Republican budget writers said in a letter first reported by the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
"Virginia has been a prudent steward of Medicaid funding and should not be penalized for making a policy decision to not expand Medicaid," state legislative money committee chairmen wrote this week in a letter to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and others.
This same leadership had similar concerns with the American Health Care Act, the House version of an ACA repeal, which cleared the chamber in early May.
North Carolina is nearing the end of its legislative session, and leaders in Raleigh said they haven't had time yet to dig into the Senate bill. Virginia's session ended months ago.
All non-expansion states "want to ensure that, in the process, we are treated fairly," Rep. Nelson Dollar, R-Wake, the senior chairman of the North Carolina House Appropriations Committee.
"We will certainly be watching health care legislation as it develops," Dollar said.
Dollar stressed that the ACA repeal language is sure to change before final passage in Congress. Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger said in a statement that it is "far too early in the process to comment on how the final 'Obamacare' repeal bill might impact the state budget.
"But ending the catastrophic Washington takeover of health care is good policy," said Berger, R-Rockingham.
Republican U.S. Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina is on record supporting the Senate's repeal bill, while Republican colleague Sen. Thom Tillis released a statement this week saying he has not made up his mind.