January 2, 2013
HEALTH CARE REFORM IN THE 2013 GENERAL ASSEMBLY: Governor Bob McDonnell has decided not to move forward with health care reform in Virginia.
The Health Benefits Exchange (HBE) will happen but the federal government will run it. We believe this new marketplace will work better for small business if the state is in charge and we will be pushing for this. While it is too late for the state to run the HBE itself in 2014, the state still could work in “partnership” with the feds to run it, or the state could plan to take over in 2015.
Medicaid expansion will not happen unless the General Assembly acts to bring the expansion to Virginia. Medicaid expansion would cover over 400,000 Virginians, and the federal government will pay 100% of the cost until 2017 (and at least 90% after that). If these folks are not covered, health insurance costs will remain high as the system pays for the uncompensated care these folks receive.
It is not clear yet whether the state will take on the insurance regulation or continue to let the feds do it.
The Kaiser Family Fund has a cute and informative video explaining health care reform. See http://healthreform.kff.org/
The GENERAL ASSEMBLY begins its session on January 9 in Richmond. You can learn about the General Assembly, or contact your legislators, at http://
FISCAL CLIFF OUTCOME: Congress has now passed a bill to avoid the “fiscal cliff” of massive tax hikes and spending cuts. In brief, the deal: keeps income taxes stable for everyone making less than $400,000 ($450,000 for a family of 4); delays the massive spending cuts know as sequestration for two months; allows the social security payroll tax cut to expire; extends increased unemployment insurance for a year; expands Earned Income Tax Credit for five years; and keeps the “full” package of tax breaks for business investment. The agreement did not deal with increasing the federal debt limit.
INTERVIEW PROJECT: We are continuing work on recording small business people’s opinions for the General Assembly. We are doing both written and video interviews. You can read interviews at http://www.virginia-