Home Virginia Politics VA Chamber of Commerce Endorses “Private Option Approach” for Medicaid Expansion

VA Chamber of Commerce Endorses “Private Option Approach” for Medicaid Expansion


The Virginia Chamber of Commerce is not my favorite organization, because basically it’s an arm of the Republican Party of Virginia. Which is exactly why it’s significant that the Chamber this morning, in a press conference, formally endorsed Medicaid expansion – whatever they want to call it (e.g, “private option”), and whatever conditions they want to place on it – in Virginia. It will be interesting to see what the reaction to the Chamber’s plan is, and specifically whether House Republicans continue their rigid, harmful (to Virginia) “just say no” attitude. If the latter, will we see a Virginia government shutdown because Republicans won’t compromise with the Senate on a budget? In the end, if the General Assembly gridlocks due to House Republican recalcitrance, to what extent can Gov. McAuliffe act on his own to expand Medicaid? Oh, and what ever happened to that supposed “promise” last year, in the context of the transportation bill, to move towards Medicaid expansion? Lots of questions, few answers, as we head into the final two weeks of the 2014 Virginia General Assembly session (pending overtime).

P.S. See the Virginia Chamber’s press release on the “flip.”

P.P.S. Good tweets from the press conference: “Gary McCollum of Cox Communications: ‘A healthy workforce is our greatest asset'” and “Kevin Reynolds of Cardinal Bank: ‘It is about our employees, our customers and our community.'”

  • Senator McEachin Responds to House Republicans’ Opposition to Virginia Chamber Compromise;

    Says They are Hypocritical and Disdainful of Virginians

    Richmond – Senator McEachin today released this statement in response to the House of Delegates Republicans’ rejection of the Virginia Chamber compromise on Medicaid expansion.

    Senator McEachin said, “I can’t believe the hypocrisy of these Republican legislators. Many of them are more than happy to take state subsidized insurance for themselves and their families while depriving low-income working Virginians of affordable health care. Their words of supposed concern for these people are nothing more than that – hollow, empty words.

    “They raise false objections to a compromise plan that would save the state millions, provide health care to hundreds of thousands of citizens and, contains a kill switch to ensure it would never be a victim of cost overruns.

    “Suddenly they are claiming not taking federal dollars is an issue of long-held principle. Their actions demonstrate otherwise as federal dollars subsidize over a fifth of our state budget. Never before have they expressed such qualms about government money.

    “It’s time to stop these verbal shenanigans and for the Republicans to start doing what they were sent here to do – improve the lives of Virginians, save our tax dollars and work together to find sensible, reasonable, fiscally prudent policy – all of which Marketplace Virginia is. “


    RICHMOND, VA – Democratic senators responded today to the rejection by the NFIB and Republican legislators of the compromise proposal to create a private option plan to expand health care issued by business leaders and Virginia Chambers of Commerce.

    Majority Leader Sen. Dick Saslaw (D-Fairfax) said, “It comes as no surprise that the Republicans continue to come up empty handed when it comes to addressing the health care needs of nearly 400,000 low income Virginians. Just say ‘No’ is their one size fits all ‘solution’ for their hard working and most vulnerable constituents. No to those most in need – no healthcare, no hospitals in rural communities. In the meantime, as part time legislators, they enjoy the full time benefits of a state supported health insurance plan. And I can’t imagine, what could possibly be the logic behind leaving tax money paid by Virginians to be used in other states to improve their healthcare delivery systems. Is it any wonder businesses think long and hard about their presence in the Commonwealth?”

    Said Caucus Chair Sen. Donald McEachin (D – Henrico), “Republicans today attacked an imaginary plan that bears little resemblance to the actual Marketplace Virginia. They said Virginia taxpayers will end up paying for coverage expansion, ignoring the fact that our plan comes with a built-in kill switch in case federal funding dries up. They also accused us of D.C.-style politics, forgetting that our plan is a bipartisan compromise with broad support both in Richmond and across the Commonwealth.”

    Said Senate Finance Co-Chairman Sen. Chuck Colgan (D – Prince William), “Marketplace Virginia is a bipartisan compromise that has won widespread support, and Chambers of Commerce from all around Virginia, including those from Richmond, Hampton Roads, Roanoke and Fairfax, have endorsed the underlying principle – a ‘private option’ approach that uses private insurance companies to provide coverage.”


    The Fairfax Chamber (much different than the VA Chamber) deserves a lot of respect for their position and approach to the issue.

    They used to be a Republican machine, churning out whatever was fed to them. In the past year or so they have returned to being an issue driven organization.

    Mucho respect.