Newsflash:
Issue Teams

Accepting Obamacare’s optional Medicaid expansion could be a better financial deal for states than initially predicted, according to new data from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

Virginia legislators return to the Capitol on Wednesday intending to wrap up some unfinished business but with no plans to tackle the budget and Medicaid stalematesthat could ultimately shut down the state government.

The General Assembly will hold its annual “veto session” to complete work from the regular session that ended March 8. But no action is expected on the biggest issues looming over Richmond: Medicaid expansion and, because that matter was folded into the Senate’s two-year, $96 billion state spending plan, the budget.

The Virginia Senate approved its version of a roughly $96 billion two-year budget Tuesday as Republicans and Democrats pointed fingers over who is responsible for a potential state government shutdown.

Two weeks after the start of a special session devoted to passing a state budget, the Democratically controlled Senate approved a spending plan that includes accepting federal Medicaid funds to provide new health insurance to as many as 400,000 low-income residents.

Virginia’s on-again, off-again special session got rolling again Tuesday, as hundreds of lobbyists and activists on opposite sides of the state’s Medicaid battle crammed into a Senate hearing on whether to expand the program through the state budget. The hearing was the first sign of life from the Senate since last week, when the chamber went home one day into the special budget session, leaving the House and its two-year, $96 billion spending plan hanging.

Republican-controlled States are refusing to take free federal money to expand Medicaid health care coverage to the working poor. My State, Florida, is one of them. The consequences of this callous GOP decision are grave. In a column for the Tampa Bay Times last week, I explained how grave they were for Charlene Dill - they put her in her grave. Please take a moment to read my piece, entitled "The price of ideology: a woman's life."

Many supporters of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, trade agreement are arguing that its fate rests on President Obama's bilateral talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Japan this week. If Japan and the United States can sort out market access issues for agriculture and automobiles, the wisdom goes, this huge deal — in effect, a North American Free Trade Agreementon steroids — can at last be concluded.

Friday, 25 April 2014 22:31

The High Cost of Saying No

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Up to eight rural hospitals across the Palmetto State are threatened with closure or outside takeover because the state is not accepting billions of federal dollars to expand Medicaid to almost 200,000 of the state’s neediest, according to health policy experts.

The South Carolina Progressive Network — a driving force behind this year’s Truthful Tuesday protests, which called for the expansion of Medicaid under Obamacare and led to 28 civil disobedience arrests — plans to redirect its energy from demonstrating outside the State House to calling out right-wing lawmakers in their home districts before November’s elections.

The fight to persuade South Carolina's lawmakers to expand Medicaid isn't over, according to a national NAACP executive who was in Aiken on Monday for a town-hall meeting and rally.

Sadly, opponents of Medicaid expansion are touting South Carolina’s refusal to use federal funds to provide health coverage to more than 300,000 South Carolinians, including nearly 7,800 in Florence County. They say that they were successful “in beating back the ObamaCare Medicaid expansion . . . which would have cost our state untold millions once the federal government yanked its portion of the funding away.”

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