Regions Central Virginia

Coalition backing Medicaid ‘private option’ begins ad campaign

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A coalition of Virginia business and community leaders is launching an advertising campaign to rally support for a Medicaid “private option” plan to close Virginia's coverage gap for the uninsured.

The group, A Healthy Virginia Works,  backs a private insurance plan using federal funds to provide health coverage for people who currently are too well off to qualify for Medicaid but don’t make enough to get insurance premium subsidies on the federal insurance exchange.

An impasse over Medicaid expansion resulted in the Virginia General Assembly adjourning on March 8 without passing a budget. A special session is scheduled to begin March 24.

The state Senate, controlled by Democrats, supports a private insurance plan proposed by Republican state Sen. John Watkins that would use federal Medicaid dollars to expand coverage for the uninsured.

The House of Delegates, controlled by Republicans, opposes Medicaid expansion in any form, fearing the federal government will renege on promises to pick up the additional cost.

The coalition announced Friday that its campaign supporting a private Medicaid option would involve radio, online and social media advertising.

The group has released the names of 450 businesses, hospitals, organizations and individuals who support “a market-based solution to Virginia's coverage gap.”

A Healthy Virginia Works is a project begun by the Virginia Chamber of Commerce, Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association, and nine local chambers of commerce, including those in Fairfax County, Richmond, Hampton Roads and Roanoke.

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