News & Notes from the Virginia General Assembly

News & Notes from the Virginia General Assembly
News & Notes from the Virginia General Assembly
Tagged in: Advocacy
News & Notes from the Virginia General Assembly

 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

ODU Local 2014 Economic Forecast and Analysis for Hampton Roads

Forecast Data as presented by ODU Economists:

  • Real Gross Regional Product up 2.20%
     (Historical average for region, 3.10%)
  • Employment up 1.5%, unemployment rate 5.3%
    (2013 unemployment rate, 5.9%)
  • Retail Sales - expected to grow by 3.6%
  • Tourism - expected to rise 2.4%
  • Port - general cargo tonnage to gain 4.8%
  • Housing - value of single family permits up 7.9%

Workers Comp, House Subcommittee Advances Reform Bill

HB1083 (Ware R-65th) - Workers Compensation:  Cost and payment for medical services.  Limits the liability of an employer for medical treatment provided to an injured person that is rendered by a nurse practioner or physician assistant serving as an assistant at surgery to no more than 20% of the charge of the physician performing the surgery.  This legislation was SUPPORTED by the Chambers.

Casino Gaming Bill Withdrawn

SB19 (Lucas D-18th) - Virginia Casino Gaming Commission, regulation of casino gaming was pulled by Senator Lucas.  The Senator indicated that she wanted to build support for the bill before having it considered further.

Redistricting Referendum Bill Clears Senate

SB158 (Miller D-1st) - Creates a bipartisan Virginia Redistricting Commission.  The bill passed the Senate on a 36-4 vote on the floor.  The Virginia House of Delegates will now consider the measure after crossover.

Minimum Wage Bills Defeated

HB32 (Morrissey D-74th), HB536 (Plum D-36th) - House Commerce and Labor tabled the two minimum wage bills that would have increased the current minimum wage in Virginia.  (The Chambers SUPPORT a federal minimum wage standard).

House Defeats Virginia Health Benefit Exchange Legislation

HB292 (Sickles D-43rd) - Virginia Health Benefit Exchange, established and operated in a new SCC division.  The legislation would have facilitated the purchase and sale of qualified health plans and dental plans.
By voice vote the House Commerce and Labor Committee voted to PASS THE BILL BY INDEFINITELY.

Closing the Coverage Gap; Correcting Assumptions about Medicaid

You may have heard ..."Not expanding Medicaid or using federal funds to cover the uninsured will save Virginia taxpayers money."  But did you know.

  • Virginians will incur $29.7 billion (2014-2022) (approximately $2 to $3 billion per year on average) in ACA-related taxes and provider cost imposed by the federal government to pay for health care reform throughout the nation, regardless of whether or not it opts to use these federals funds.
  • Virginia would forego a net benefit of $21 billion (2014-2022), denying Virginia significant economic benefits.
  • If Virginia does nothing, we not only experience a net loss of Virginia taxpayer dollars, but hundreds of thousands of Virginians will continue to go without access to needed health care services and individuals and businesses will continue to subsidize the costs of caring for their fellow citizens through higher insurance premiums.  As much as 10% of monthly premiums go to pay for uncompensated care provided to the uninsured.

You may have heard."The federal government will not be able to sustain its share of Medicaid spending for those who would be added under the Affordable Care Act."  But did you know.

  • The ACA requires the federal government to fund 100% of the costs of coverage for the newly eligible for the first three years (2014-2016) and phasing down to 90% in 2020 and each year thereafter.
  • The Commonwealth routinely benefits from federal funds in other areas including transportation, social services, defense, and education.  These areas are similarly susceptible to federal deficit cuts.
  • Virginia can protect itself against the potential loss of federal funds by including a provision that allows the state to disenroll individuals from coverage if the federal government fails to meet its financial obligations.  In fact, this possibility is already addressed in the budget language that requires the Commonwealth to curtail eligibility if the federal match decreases below 90%.
  • Private option plans pursued in states like Arkansas and Iowa require federal waivers.  These waivers are granted for a limited duration.  Accordingly, the programs do not continue indefinitely.

You may have heard."There is significant waste, fraud and abuse in the Medicaid program."  But did you know...

  • A two-year Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee study concluded in 2011 found that provider and recipient fraud and abuse accounted for only 0.3% of Virginia Medicaid spending.
  • A review by the federal government showed that Department of Medical Assistance Services most recent payment error rate is only .007% which is below the national average.
  • The Department of Medical Assistance Services has made recent enhancements to recipient eligibility, provider enrollment, and pre- and post- payment review of claims, and has expanded use of contracted recovery audit contractors to identify improper payments, all of which should result in further reductions in waste, fraud, and abuse.

Medicaid managed care programs are also required to conduct program integrity functions under their contracts with the Department of Medical Assistance Services.  In FY2013, these program integrity functions avoided or recovered over $417 million.

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