May 6, 2014
Savings Are Savings
Closing the health care coverage gap in Virginia would more than triple the state’s savings from Medicaid reforms currently under way, making it even more imperative that lawmakers close the coverage gap without delay.
Currently, $106 million in savings from Medicaid reforms is built into the budgets of both the House and Senate for the next two years. In fact, it’s been in the state budget since Gov. McDonnell included it in his outgoing budget in December 2013.
The savings come straight out of reforms called for in last year’s compromise to move forward with Medicaid expansion. They include hiring a contractor to oversee the behavioral health provider network, which will save the state $57 million, and implementation of a new program to better manage the care of people who get coverage from both Medicaid and Medicare, which is set to save $21 million.
Closing the coverage gap would save the state another $225 million. But opponents of Medicaid expansion have shouted from the rooftops that the larger savings, along with federal funds to pay for closing the coverage gap, shouldn’t be included in the budget.
Why is that?
There’s no difference between the savings from Medicaid reforms and Medicaid expansion. In fact, Medicaid expansion through a private plan like Marketplace Virginia should be considered a reform in itself.
The reforms are saving money and closing the coverage gap would save even more. One of them is already in the budget, and the other should be as well.
–Massey Whorley, Senior Policy Analyst
For a hi-res version of this figure, click here.