According to new estimates produced by Virginia’s Medicaid office, expanding Virginia’s Medicaid program to about 250,000 uninsured residents initially would produce savings of $1 billion through 2022.
A year ago, state health officials estimated a net cost of $137.5 million over the same period, while in 2010, the estimated cost of expansion exceeded $2.1 billion.
The revised estimates reflect changed assumptions about how much expansion would save the state in taxpayer subsidies for care of the uninsured to Virginia Commonwealth University Health System and the University of Virginia Health System, which together receive about $150 million a year in state funds, along with matching federal funds. The analysis estimates $1.1 billion in savings to the state by replacing those subsidies with Medicaid coverage of the uninsured.
Last year, the state estimated that half the population who benefit from the funding would be eligible for Medicaid benefits under expansion. The most recent analysis estimates that figure at 95 percent.
House Appropriations Committee Chairman S. Chris Jones (R-Suffolk) said that the new estimate “doesn’t change the dynamics of reforming the existing Medicaid program.” Jones had received a briefing from Secretary of Health and Human Resources William Hazel Jr. and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Walter Stosch, CPA, a VSCPA member.
Jones said he will insist on reforms being in place and producing savings before he will consider expanding Medicare.
Home Prices Rise in Richmond, Fredericksburg, Expected to Decrease in Hampton
Home sales and prices in the Richmond area rose over the previous year in 2013, according to a report from the Richmond Association of Realtors.
The number of sales in the region rose 11.4 percent in 2013 over 2012 and 8 percent in the fourth quarter over the same period in 2012.
The annual median sales price in the Richmond region was $198,000, a 7.1 percent increase from 2012. The largest gain came in Chesterfield County, where the median home price climbed 11 percent to $211,000.
The Fredericksburg housing market rebounded in nearly every category in 2013, according to statistics from Metropolitan Regional Information Systems Inc. Total sales volume rose 21.4 percent to $1.21 billion, while the median sales price rose 11.4 percent to $245,000.
Meanwhile, in a presentation to the Hampton City Council last week, Brian Gordineer, the city’s assessor, said that assessed property values in the city will decrease in the upcoming fiscal year.
Gordineer said that more than 90 percent of property owners with changing assessment will receive notices that their property values are decreasing, although 56 percent of property owners’ assessments did not change.
Real estate rates have declined each of the past five years in Hampton.
Five Virginia Colleges Enter Energy Initiative
Five colleges and universities in Virginia have announced a partnership with Collegiate Clean Energy (CCE) to use renewable electricity on campus.
Emory & Henry College, Hollins University, Lynchburg College, Randolph College and Sweet Briar College have partnered with CCE, an affiliate of Ingenco, Virginia’s largest landfill gas to energy operator. The electricity generated from landfill gas will be delivered to the colleges through the distribution system owned by Appalachian Power Company.
According to a release, the colleges will offset between 50 and 70 percent of their total carbon footprints as a result of the initiative and estimate they will jointly save between $3 and $6 million over the next 12 years.
CEOs: Staffing is Most Challenging Issue
According to the fourth-quarter 2013 CEO Economic Outlook Survey from the Virginia Council of CEOs and the University of Richmond’s Robins School of Business, staffing is the most significant business issue faced by executives.
Among executives of small and mid-sized companies who participated, 35.9 percent said that staffing is the most important business issue. Just over 20 percent said that economic uncertainty was the most significant issue they faced.
More than half of the executives surveyed (55 percent) said they expected higher or significantly higher employment for their company over the next six months.