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McDonnell: Virginia will leave high-risk insurance pool to feds

Anita Kumar

Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) notified U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius Friday that Virginia will not create its own high-risk pool for people with pre-exising conditions under the new federal health-care law, leaving it instead to the federal government.

But McDonnell also said that federal funds set aside for the high-risk insurance pool -- $113 million -- will run out by 2012. After that, the state will not have enough money to sustain the account, he said.

Read his letter.

Friday was the deadline for each state to tell the federal government whether it would create its own insurance pool for people who otherwise have trouble getting coverage.

The issue has become the latest dividing line between states that are enthuasiatically embracing the new federal health-care law and those that believe it will cost their residents money. California announced it will create its own pool, while other states, including Hawaii, Mississippi and Nebraska are opting out.

By Anita Kumar  |  April 30, 2010; 6:16 PM ET
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Robert F. McDonnell  
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It is ironic when conservatives and anti big government advocates such as Gov. McDonnell disavow the State of Virginia's (thus it's citizens'} the need to create and participate in a [high risk] plan for people with high risk pre existing medical conditions, instead opting to continue to depend upon the federal government's plan to provide for such individuals. As such I would imagine that this is his way of saving the State money that has been used in the past for such coverage. However, the state does have it's responsibilities to provide such services in addition to the federal government. When an individual is diagnosed with more severe diseases requiring extensive medical (transplants) and or chemical treatments (chemo therapies) then there is the need for a state coverage and if exhausted to then be able to roll over to the federal plan. But who often is the one to come down with such a medical condition - not the healthier man or woman or child with excellent health coverage already in place but a middle or lower income person with less than or no health care is left with marginal if any health insurance coverage that will enable the person to tap into a state plan esp if one does not exist. He is taking care of the conservative element that put him into office!

Posted by: davidmswyahoocom | May 1, 2010 7:12 AM | Report abuse

Be careful with generalizing this move by the Governor as an example of playing to his base. Since the Federal Government has decided to set the standards, it is up to them to set the funds in their own "high risk" plan. States are merely being asked to assist in the process. Every State under the Constitution has the right and duty to analyze and deem the structure that is most appropriate for their citizens. It is virtually impossible for this to be done on a Federal level, which is routinely out of touch with the individual citizens.

Posted by: concerned6 | May 1, 2010 7:49 AM | Report abuse

I am concerned that our state government will sit back and do nothing to prepare for implementation of health care reform, and drag its feet on the many things states need to be doing to gear up for provisions of the new law to take effect. Other states are organizing commissions to look at the new law and develop implementation plans -- while Virginia sits on the sidelines and defends the status quo. Millions of Virginians who are counting on health insurance reform to be implemented in the state. We expect state elected leaders to move Virginia forward, not backwards -- it is time to light a fire under Governor McDonnell to GET GOING on making health care reform work to the best advantage and interests of Virginians.

Posted by: KCinArlington | May 1, 2010 7:56 AM | Report abuse

When it comes "States-Rights" conservative, tea-bagging governors are only interested when it works in their favor. "We don't want a Big Government health plan, but we want Big government to take care of the really sick."

Posted by: tkoho | May 1, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

All you f'wads who voted for McDonnell, fire your guns into the air.


Posted by: angelos_peter | May 1, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Why would the states want to sign up for a federally mandated underfunded mandate that is part of federal entitlement program that is unpopular? That's what happens when you force a partisan piece of legislation through with no buy in from the opposing party. They feel no obligation to participate.

Posted by: RobT1 | May 1, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

McDonnell: another whiny drillpublican crying for a big government bailout. waaaaaa! give us some money! waaaa!

Posted by: janouzpoha | May 1, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Shall we all pray in JESUS's name that the sick in Virgina will be allowed to be healed.
After all it appears that the very sick in VIRGINA will get no help from their CHRISTIAN GOVERNOR.
How wonderfully CHRISTIAN

Posted by: racerdoc | May 1, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

This would be laughable if it weren't so sad. Another ranting raving federal-government-is-evil conservative saying the Federal government needs to take care of his State's citizens.

A lot like Bobby Jindal who railed against the stimulus bill (and quietly took the check afterward) is now whining because the evil Federal government hasn't sent him more money to deal with the oil spill that was caused by a major player in his devoutly adored free enterprise system.

And there are plenty of neocon crackpots who sing in the federal-government-is-evil choir who are foaming at the mouth all over the blogs because the federal government isn't doing enough to handle BP's massive oil spill. All of a sudden, their unshakable faith in "free market capitalism" is nowhere to be seen.

Rank hypocrites, one and all.

Posted by: windrider2 | May 1, 2010 5:50 PM | Report abuse

Interesting. So is Hawaii, a state with an entirely Democratic congressional delegation and both houses its legislature controlled by Democrats that went for Obama by 45 points has opted out as well.

Yet it's only the "ranting raving federal-government-is-evil conservatives" making these decisions? I don't think so.

No rational governor is going to want to take on such a huge unfunded mandate as these high risk pools will inevitably become. McDonnell is doing what he should - protect the citizens of the Commonwealth from massive tax increases thanks to a federal government program that is not even close to being paid for.

McDonnell made the right decision here and a few years from now when states who opted to create their own high risk pool are swimming in debt, everyone will thank him for it.

Posted by: DCG65 | May 1, 2010 9:01 PM | Report abuse

Let's face it. The really important things in Virginia are being taken care of, you know like celebrating the Confederacy and covering the nekkid breast of a female figure on a government seal. No action on roads or public transportation. McDonnell and his administration are empty suits.

Posted by: fabricmaven1 | May 1, 2010 10:22 PM | Report abuse

One would Hope that the Secretary of HHS and the US Govt. would not allow the racist bigot Bob McDonnell of VA. to either distribute or manage the high risk pool fund of some $113 million, which will end up for the the special perks of his malignant narcissist kind, with their perversity of inequality, rights only of their kind and what these SOBs did with the stimulus money.

Posted by: winemaster2 | May 2, 2010 12:10 AM | Report abuse

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