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Amy Umble is health reporter for The Free Lance-Star

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Public comment open for Va Medicaid expansion commission

The legislative panel weighing whether to authorize expansion of Medicaid eligibility in Virginia has recently put up a web form on its website for citizens to submit comments.

Lawmakers on the Medicaid Innovation and Reform Commission promised in their last meeting last month to create a way for the public to submit comments.

According to a post on the MIRC’s website and pointed out via Twitter by blog Bearing Drift, the comment section opened last week.

“Our Public Comments portal is now available and we welcome the input, respectfully presented, of all stakeholders as we weigh the decision on whether or not to expand Medicaid in Virginia,” the post says. “Please note that all comments are reviewed by the administrator before being posted. If comments follow the guidelines they will be posted on our Public Comments page.”

The legislative commission was created at the end of the General Assembly session this year to evaluate the evaluate the state’s options for getting federal permission for Medicaid reforms, a precursor to any decision about expanding eligibility for the Medicaid program.

Medicaid expansion is part of the federal Affordable Care Act, but last summer’s Supreme Court decision that upheld the constitutionality of the law as a whole said that Medicaid expansion was optional for states.

Virginia is one of the states that has so far not opted to expand.

Supporters of expansion say it would provide health coverage to up to 400,000 Virginians, create jobs and would be paid for primarily by the federal government.

Opponents say they can’t support expanding a program they say is broken, and are mistrustful of the federal government’s promises to pay for it, since the federal budget is already in debt.

The MIRC comment form can be found here, although it seems to require you upload your comments as a PDF form. Comments can also be submitted to vamirc@mirc.virginia.gov.

At last month’s meetings, legislators also said they’re trying to set up a public hearing for late September or early October.

 

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