Governor Terry McAuliffe announced a major reform to the state's Medicare and Medicaid programs Thursday, as he continued to make the case for extending health insurance benefits to 400,000 low-income Virginians.

The governor announced the launch of Commonwealth Coordinated Care, a pilot project that will streamline benefits for 78,000 Virginians who are already eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid.

By blending the benefits from both programs, and coordinating care, McAuliffe said the state can improve medical outcomes, and operate more efficiently.

"And with reforms like CCC now in place, we have proven that our system is now more cost-efficient for the state and easier to navigate for our patients and our providers," McAulilffe said.

The pilot project covers five areas in the state, and people who are eligible will receive letters over the next several weeks.  Voluntary enrollment will begin in the Roanoke area on May 1st.

McAuliffe also used the announcement to argue for Medicaid expansion, saying it shows that Virginia is ready to take the next step, receive federal funds and close the so-called coverage gap.

Republicans remain firm in their opposition.  And there is no deal on the horizon.