Although the 2013 Virginia General Assembly Session has ended, the work of state government does not rest. In particular, several legislative commissions involving healthcare reform are beginning their work for the summer and fall in preparation for the 2014 session. Recently, the Virginia Health Reform Initiative (VHRI) Advisory Council, and the Medicaid Innovation and Reform Commission (MIRC), held public meetings.
VHRI was formed in 2010 to make recommendations regarding implementation of health reform in Virginia. In 2011 and 2013, VHRI studied the many state related issues arising out of the Patient Protection and Affordability Act ("Obama Care"). Virginia subsequently opted not to set up its own state-based exchange, and thus it will default to the Federal Exchange. However, the Virginia Bureau of Insurance will still provide "plan management" functions for plans in the Federal Exchange available to Virginia residents.
As such the work of VHRI continues. On June 12, 2013, VHRI reviewed legislation from the 2013 Legislative Session, and heard status reports on Exchange development, eligibility and enrollment. The meeting documents are available by clicking this link VHRI Meeting Documents. The Advisory Council plans to meet 2-3 times by the end of this year.
The MIRC had its first meeting on June 17, 2013. MIRC is the legislative commission charged with reviewing and approving several Medicaid reforms, including the expansion of Medicaid pursuant to Obama Care. At this "organizational" meeting, Sen. Emmett Hanger (R) and Del. Steve Landes (R) were elected Co-Chairs of the commission. The meeting centered on an overview by Secretary Hazel and his staff regarding Virginia's Medicaid program, including the rising costs of services. The next meeting of this commission will most likely be in July, but a date has not yet been scheduled.
We will continue to follow the activities of these bodies and keep you informed of healthcare reform issues here in Virginia. As always, we welcome the opportunity to speak with you about these issues.