Medicaid expansion in Virginia debated

There are new facts on the fight to accept federal money to expand Medicaid to 400,000 people in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

We called Virginia District 40 senator Bill Carrico Monday; he tells us on Thursday the house and senate will begin working on their budgets for the next two years.

The house budget does not include money for expanded Medicaid. Senator Carrico says the senate's spending plan could create a "private payer" system, where eligible patients pay a percentage of the cost to a private insurance company.

It's a plan he does not support. "I feel, and most everyone here feels, an expansion is not going to help our Medicaid system," he said. "I think the last numbers have grown about 47 percent, and in about 30 percent of Medicaid spending there's an estimated 30 percent of that that's considered fraud."

Carrico says he's also concerned about federal money being cut in two years if Medicaid expansion isn't successful enough.

Supporters of Medicaid expansion say Virginia cannot afford to reject an estimated $5 million a day in federal cash, because insurance companies may be forced to raise premiums for everyone else.

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