Even if Virginia decides to expand its Medicaid program, Gov. Bob McDonnell wants a second look in two years before the state would start paying part of the bill.
McDonnell proposed Monday to put a sunset clause on any expansion of the program by the Medicaid Innovation and Reform Commission, created this year to oversee reforms that lawmakers insist be accomplished before — or, some say, at the same time as — expanding the program under the federal Affordable Care Act.
The governor doesn’t favor expanding the program, but his proposal would force what he called “a full evaluation of Medicaid reform efforts and whether Virginia can afford expansion.”
Any expansion would sunset on June 30, 2016, six months before the federal government begins stepping down its financial commitment from 100 percent to 90 percent of the annual bill.
“The goal is to ensure that if an expansion occurs, there is ongoing evaluation of the efficacy of proposed reforms prior to making the expansion more permanent,” explained Tucker Martin, the governor’s communications director.
Legislators who favor expansion say the proposed sunset clause is a new gubernatorial wrinkle on a decision they hope to make long before 2016 to take advantage of almost $5 billion in federal funds in the budget biennium.