Virginia Budget Plan Moving Forward Without Medicaid Expansion
After the abrupt resignation of a Democrat switched the state Senate to Republican control, Democrats began negotiating on a spending plan that no longer includes the governor's priority of expanding health care coverage to low-income residents.
The Washington Post: GOP Has Claimed Control Of Va. Senate, Forced Democrats To Cave Over Medicaid Impasse
Virginia Republicans snatched control of the state Senate on Monday, immediately ending a budget stalemate by pushing Democrats to agree to pass a spending plan without Medicaid expansion, Gov. Terry McAuliffe's top priority. The power shift forced Senate Democrats to yield after a protracted standoff that had threatened to shut down state government in less than a month, according to several lawmakers with direct knowledge of the deal. Democratic negotiators agreed in a closed-door meeting Monday to pass a budget without expanding health coverage to 400,000 low-income Virginians (Vozzella and Laris, 6/9).
The New York Times: State Senator's Resignation Deepens Political Turmoil In Virginia
The resignation of a Democratic state senator in Virginia that flipped control of the Senate to Republicans set off charges on Monday of an unseemly deal and threatened Gov. Terry McAuliffe's chances of expanding Medicaid under the president's health care law (Gabriel, 6/9).
The Wall Street Journal: Senator's Resignation Complicates Medicaid Expansion Plan In Virginia
Republicans claimed temporary control of the Virginia Senate Monday after veteran Democratic state Sen. Phillip Puckett resigned, giving the GOP a one-seat majority. The move for now allowed the GOP to block Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe's plan to expand the federal-state health insurance program for the poor to as many as 400,000 Virginians. … Democrats on Monday reached a budget agreement that won't include Medicaid, though the governor could use a special session to again debate expansion (Armour and O’Connor, 6/9).
The Associated Press: Senator Quits, Imperiling Virginia Medicaid Push
The resignation of a Democratic state senator on Monday has dealt a serious blow to his party's push for Medicaid expansion in Virginia and cleared a path for Republicans to pass a budget without compromising on the health care plan. Sen. Phil Puckett's resignation gives the GOP a 20-19 majority in the chamber to go with their control of the House. Senate Democrats had linked passage of the state’s $96 billion biennial budget to expanding Medicaid, creating the threat of a government shutdown on July 1 if Republicans wouldn't relent (Suderman, 6/9).
Reuters: Virginia Medicaid Expansion In Doubt As State Senator Quits
Governor Terry McAuliffe's bid to expand Medicaid in Virginia was dealt a blow on Monday by a Democratic lawmaker's resignation that may have been propelled by Republican maneuvering. The resignation of state Senator Phillip Puckett gives Republicans a one-vote majority in the chamber. McAuliffe, a Democrat, had hoped the Senate would support a widening of Medicaid to 400,000 Virginians under the federal Affordable Care Act, a proposal Republicans oppose (Robertson, 6/9).
Virginian-Pilot: General Assembly Will Meet This Week
His resignation also enhances GOP leverage on getting a new budget without yielding on Medicaid expansion, as Democrats would prefer. Mindful of that and an anticipated $1 billion-plus shortfall over the next two years, some of Puckett's former Senate colleagues huddled for hours Monday, devising cuts to offset that revenue downturn. That means slashing $700 million in spending .... Legislators emerged from those talks with plans to reconvene the Senate and House of Delegates on Thursday with an eye on a budget deal, but without a clear path forward on the proposed "Marketplace Virginia" private insurance alternative to Medicaid expansion (Walker, 6/10).
Richmond Times-Dispatch: Senate Returns Thursday To Act On Budget
The Senate will convene Thursday to enact a two-year state budget that will have about $700 million less in new spending .... The apparent breakthrough in the budget impasse was hastened by the political firestorm that followed the surprise resignation of Sen. Phillip P. Puckett, D-Russell, who said Monday he had decided not to accept a job on the staff of the state tobacco commission. ... But the severity of the expected revenue shortfall already had prepared leaders of the Senate Finance Committee to agree to a budget that will not include Marketplace Virginia, a commercial insurance alternative to expanding the state’s Medicaid program for hundreds of thousands of uninsured Virginians (Martz and Nolan, 6/10).
The Richmond Times-Dispatch: City Council Passes Resolution Favoring Medicaid Expansion
The Richmond City Council voted overwhelmingly Monday to express its support for Medicaid expansion in Virginia, a symbolic gesture that comes as the state budget fight is heating up across the street from City Hall. The council voted 8-0 to approve a resolution urging the General Assembly to "develop and implement in the Commonwealth of Virginia a plan to provide more Virginians with access to affordable health care coverage and services" (Moomaw, 6/9).
The Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire: Virginia Drama Puts Spotlight On Medicaid Expansion Holdouts
When the Supreme Court gave states the option of opting in or out of the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion, the thinking among Democrats was that after some initial grumbling states would eventually opt in. … Perhaps more revealing is the fact that, some two years after the Medicaid expansion became available for states, 24 still have not done so. Of those only five – Indiana, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Utah and Virginia – are even considering it, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. And of the states that haven't moved and aren't debating the expansion, only Florida, Maine and Wisconsin have competitive state elections this year in which a Democrat could feasibly win and seek to change the dynamic (Epstein, 6/9).