It was tedious week as members of the Virginia House of Delegates and Senate waded through the process of offering line-by-line amendments to the state budget.
Democrats want to expedite expanding Medicaid, saying the state could lose federal funds and leave hundreds of thousands of Virginians without medical coverage. Republicans are concerned Washington will not send the promised funding due to federal budget problems, and leave the financial burden on the states.
Republican senator and Finance Committee Chair Walter Stosch offered a compromise, saying it makes sure that Medicaid reforms take place while allowing expansion.
"It also sets up a fund to capture the savings of the first five years from implementation of the program," he says. "Rather than allow those savings to be consumed in the budget for some other purpose, we are going to set them aside to help buffer those odd years."
Medicaid expansion would be contingent on the federal government paying the share that it promised and allowing more state flexibility. The Senate approved Stosch's amendment.