Medicaid expansion supporters in Virginia have new hope


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.

Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley, R-Wolfeboro, recently introduced amendments to the bill, capping the liability of insurance companies to help fund the state's share, and establishing procedures for verifying compliance with the work requirements. More than 285,000 people are on the program, which was created as an alternative to expanding Medicaid under the federal health law.

"We've already dealt with all that we can", Jones said.

However, the Senate budget did not include a Medicaid expansion, resulting in a $600 million dollar difference that must be reconciled.

Jones dismissed questions about a potential state government shutdown as premature, with the current budget in effect until June 30 and new two-year cycle beginning on July 1. As part of that process, lawmakers must decide whether Virginia will expand Medicaid.

Needing approval by two-thirds of the chamber's 40 members, the first two resolutions failed on 21-19 party-line votes.

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However, Norment said he's strongly opposed to expansion.

Earlier on Thursday, Jones asked the House to defer action on Senate Bill 915, proposed by Sen.

"The governor has been very clear that he prefers a budget that includes [Medicaid] coverage expansion as soon as possible", Coy said. 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".

Jones said Thursday that he will instead allow Dunnavant's bill to die without action in the House, which must complete action on all bills by midnight under the procedural resolution for the assembly session that began January 10.

Not all Republicans in the House supported the Medicaid expansion.

But the House GOP leadership team, except for one, opposed the House budget that Cox supported.