Health and Medicine
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – The chances of Virginia joining a majority of states that have expanded Medicaid have increased significantly after a key GOP lawmaker flipped positions on the issue. Republican Del. Terry Kilgore said Thursday on the John Fredericks Show that he’d changed his mind after years of opposition to Medicaid expansion and now supports it. Kilgore said his change of heart was due partly to President Donald Trump’s embrace of work requirements for low-income people on Medicaid. The powerful lawmaker from Southwest Virginia could help provide political cover for other Republicans to support expansion. Republicans have blocked Medicaid expansion in Virginia for years, saying its long-term costs were unsustainable. But they have softened their opposition this year after a Democratic wave helped elect several new lawmakers who campaigned specifically on expanding Medicaid.
A report from the Virginia Hospital and Health Care Association indicates progress on one front to combat the opioid epidemic — fewer prescriptions. The association had a team look a Medicaid and commercial prescription records for opioids in Virginia from January of 2015 through December of 2016, and it shows the number of such prescriptions fell by about 15% over that two-year period. More from WFIR’s Evan Jones.
The Roanoke Area Youth Substance Abuse Coalition is part of a task force fighting the opioid abuse crisis here in the valley. More on several of RAYSAC’s initiatives from WFIR’s Gene Marrano:
Click below to hear a full length conversation with Tracey Coltraine from RAYSAC: