Virginia is one step closer to expanding Medicaid statewide.
A 10 member state panel made up of senators and delegates has been formed to determine the best way to reform and expand Medicaid.
The General Assembly is requiring the agreement before it will approve $2 billion from the federal government to pay for the program.
The money would allow the Commonwealth to add 400,000 new people to Medicaid and potentially create thousands of jobs.
Roanoke Senator John Edwards said the panel is facing a deadline to reach an agreement.
"For every month that goes by after next winter, January 1, 2014, if we don't sign up for this program we will be losing $200 million in federal (money)," Edwards said. "It's in our economic interest to move forward as quickly as possible."
State Republicans have said they want reforms to Medicaid before they will agree to expanding the program.
Edwards said he's confident the panel will find a way to both reform and expand Medicaid in Virginia.