Virginia’s Medicaid Expansion Standoff Moves State Toward Budget Shortfall, Government Shutdown
Also in the news, after Louisiana's Medicaid expansion efforts failed in the legislature, the state is poised to try out Gov. Bobby Jindal's alternative to the federal health law.
The Washington Post: Va. Attorney General Hires Law Expert As Possible Shutdown Looms
At issue is whether to expand health coverage for the poor as allowed under President Obama’s Affordable Care Act; McAuliffe and the state Senate support doing so, while the Republican-dominated House of Delegates does not. Supporters forced the standoff by attaching the proposal to the state spending plan, leading resolute lawmakers on both sides of the debate to adjourn their regular session in March with no budget in place. Also in the spotlight are several constitutional questions, notably whether McAuliffe has the authority to keep certain appropriations flowing after July 1 if no budget deal is reached. Under the constitution, only the legislature has the power to appropriate funds (Portnoy, 5/30).
The Richmond Times-Dispatch: ‘Sense Of Urgency’ As Budget Shortfall Looms
After almost three months of political theatrics, Virginia is about to get a stiff dose of budget reality. The General Assembly money committees are preparing for deep spending cuts in a two-year budget that has been stalled by a bitter political fight over using federal money to expand health coverage for uninsured Virginians. If the legislature doesn’t break the impasse and adopt a budget by July 1, the cuts will be twice as deep and the state’s financial reputation could be imperiled (Martz, 6/1).
The Associated Press Lawmakers Agree To Try Out Jindal Health Plan
Louisiana could become a testing ground for Gov. Bobby Jindal's alternative to the federal health care overhaul, under a bill that received final backing from lawmakers Friday. Democratic Sen. Ben Nevers, of Bogalusa, proposed trying to use Jindal's "America Next" health care plan in Louisiana, after lawmakers rejected Nevers' push to expand Medicaid as allowed under President Barack Obama's health law (5/31).