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Medicaid Expansion Prospects in Virginia Improve

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - This week's groundswell of political change in Virginia has improved the odds of Medicaid expansion becoming law there. The long-stalled liberal priority gained new life after Democrats nearly wiped out Republicans' overwhelming majority in the House of Delegates.

It had repeatedly failed when Republicans controlled two-thirds of the chamber.

Control of the House is still up in the air, with a couple of close races yet to be called. Democrats say they believe they can get Medicaid expansion passed even if Republicans retain a slim majority. Gov.-elect Ralph Northam said he's going to make it a top priority.

Republican leaders say they still oppose expanding the health care program for the poor, saying its long-term costs are too high.

Meanwhile, Medicaid expansion also won voter approval in a Maine referendum.

Don Rush is the News Director and Senior Producer of News and Public Affairs at Delmarva Public Media. An award-winning journalist, Don reports major local issues of the day, from sea level rise, to urban development, to the changing demographics of Delmarva.