Battle Over Medicaid Expansion Delayed Until September

With hundreds of thousands of Virginians still uninsured, Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) is waiting for the Republicans to create a plan to remedy the health coverage gap, reports the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

With Democratic leadership pushing for a solution, Republicans want the General Assembly to wait until late September before they begin to debate the issue of Medicaid expansion.

Speaker of the House William J. Howell (R-Stafford) stated that he would call the House into session on September 22nd to discuss the looming issue. Howell, one of the leaders opposing the use of federal funding to expand Medicaid, has been in a tug-of-war with McAuliffe and the Democrats over the issue for months.

In a joint statement with Howell, Senate Majority Leader Thomas W. Norment Jr. (R-Stafford) said, “Although I remain to be persuaded that Medicaid expansion would be the right financial decision for Virginia, any decision to enact a change this major would require the General Assembly’s approval.”

Republicans remain staunch on their position to block the governor from expanding Medicaid without the General Assembly’s legislative approval. However, McAuliffe is adamant in his plans to expand Medicaid and health care coverage through the federal funds provided by the Affordable Care Act.

Spokesman for Gov. McAuliffe said in a statement Wednesday, “The governor hopes that Republicans in the General Assembly will finally put what’s best for Virginia families ahead of petty ideological politics and offer a serious proposal to close the coverage gap.”


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