The effort to expand Medicaid in Virginia has been repeatedly defeated by the Republican controlled General Assembly in the last few years. For impoverished adults (who do not have children) to receive adequate basic health care in Virginia, they must still meet Social Security disability requirements by being approved for Social Security disability insurance and/or Supplemental Security Income (ssd v ssi). If they don’t, they must seek mental health services through overwhelmed local or regional community services boards, free clinics, community health centers, or indigent care through hospitals.
House Republicans have struggled to offer an alternative to Medicaid expansion for expanding health coverage to the uninsured. They included more money for free clinics and community health centers in last year’s budget, but those funds were among the first to be cut right back out as the Republican legislature moved through its budget process.
In response to this continuing stalemate, Gov. Terry McAuliffe initiated the GAP (Governor’s Access Plan)program on his own last September, as the centerpiece of the Healthy Virginia program. This mental health initiative allows the state to tap federal dollars under the existing Medicaid program through a waiver that the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services approved in a record time.Ultimately, however, the program requires General Assembly approval and funding, and House Majority Leader M. Kirkland Cox, a Republican from Colonial Heights, has already threatened that starting the program without certainty on its long-term future could potentially be very “problematic”.
GAP opened for business in January, 2015. In order to be eligible, individuals must meet ALL of these requirements by being:
- Adult age 21 through 64 years old;
- U. S. Citizen or lawfully residing immigrant;
- Resident of Virginia;
- Household income that is below 100% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) (95% plus a 5% income disregard);
- Not otherwise eligible for any state or federal full benefits program including: Medicaid, FAMIS, Medicare, or TriCare;
- Not residing in a long term care facility, mental health facility, long-stay hospital or penal institution; and
- Screened and meet the criteria for GAP SMI (Serious Mental Illness).
To apply for GAP benefits, the program has set up an online site.
Then pray that our General Assembly will find some compassion for the disabled, and continue to fund at least this one small effort.