According to Cox, the House budget includes a plan to work with the White House to guarantee reforms as part of a plan concerning Medicaid expansion with no cost to state taxpayers, but the Senate budget includes a plan to expand Medicaid with no funding to pay for it.
A federal-state collaboration originally meant for poor families and severely disabled people, Medicaid has grown to become the largest government health insurance program, now covering 1 in 5 people.
This is, of course, the natural course resulting from the continued purpling - and ever-bluer tinges - of Virginia that manifested in the last election cycle.
Virginia is one of 18 states that have refused.
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"We're looking at whether we need to extend the session, or go into special session", Norment said in an interview after a meeting of the Senate Republican Caucus on Thursday morning. Under former President Barack Obama's health law, states got the option of expanding Medicaid to cover more low-income adults. That bill would likely be very similar to the budget submitted to the current session by Gov. Terry McAuliffe before he left office, since new Gov. Ralph Northam endorsed that budget. As Del. Kathy Byron, who represents a large northeastern area of Franklin County, explained in her weekly newsletter: "Effectively, the House budget is putting the Commonwealth's fiscal future at grave risk, signing onto a funding stream that the White House and Republicans in Congress are committed to abolishing". He had planned to amend it with a substitute bill to carry out Medicaid expansion, as proposed in the House budget, as a way to allow Senate Republicans to vote on the issue outside of the budget. "That is a risk I am not willing to take".
As the 2018 General Assembly session draws to a close Saturday, there is still a hot button issue that needs to be resolved - Medicaid expansion.
Last-minute legislative maneuvering is under way to resolve the budget impasse, and we hope it involves compromise and not pushing through a hard-line position. The budget would extend health coverage to almost 400,000 Virginians.