The news was music to Democrats but shocked the GOP.
Work Requirements were the linchpin that pulled more liberal Republicans into VA’s Obamacare expansion.
But that promise is about to unravel just as the expansion takes effect.
Work Requirements Pushed Back, Obamacare Expansion Still Set to Continue
Federal officials shut down hopes that Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion would land with the agreed work requirements.
Washington officials stated the rule may lag two years behind the program’s launch in January.
That’s because bureaucrats in D.C. must grant a waiver for the Commonwealth to run Medicaid with its own restrictions.
Despite the delay, the expansion will continue to take effect without the key ingredient that pushed many liberal Republicans on board.
In fact, the GOP had held firm for four years prior.
But losing 17 seats in one election left them wary of Democrat energy.
Now it seems they’d rather drop some of the typical conservative agenda in favor of a more liberal image.
Clearly, they’re more worried about Democrat opponents than GOP Primary challengers in 2019.
GOP Moderates Hurt By Work Req. Delay
The news hurts those Senate Republicans who voted with the Democrats for expansion, but used work requirements as a shield against Tea Party attacks.
Four GOP Senators backed Obamacare expansion.
Those members were Jill Vogel, Emmett Hanger, Ben Chafin, and Frank Wagner.
These members were already under pressure from Tea Party activists.
This delay only adds more frustrations to the fire.
“While I don’t support Medicaid expansion, I do believe if we’re going to have it, it needs to have the work requirement, and it needs to be in there as soon as possible,” Sen. Richard Stuart told The Washington Post.
Stuart was one of the first members to hear the briefing from Northam’s officials about the delay.
Sen. Ryan McDougle got the same briefing and explained that he’s frustrated Gov. Ralph Northam’s officials can’t nail down a timetable for when the work requirement will take effect.
“I have no confidence, based on what I heard yesterday, that the work requirement will be put into effect in a timely way or that it will have any significant enforcement,” McDougle told The Washington Post.
Virginia Hikes Hospital Taxes to pay for Obamacare Expansion
Northam already has federal approval to tax hospitals.
That’s the plan to pay for part of this Medicaid expansion.
The Hospital tax will bring about $300,000 into the state’s coffers.
The rest of the $2 billion price tag will come from the Federal government for the first year, and could possibly end only a couple years after the program goes into effect unless a second agreement ins reached.
If that happens, Virginia will be forced to find a new way to bring in far more money to plug the deficit.
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