Virginia Legislators Remain Divided On Medicaid Expansion | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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Virginia Legislators Remain Divided On Medicaid Expansion

In Virginia, Republican leaders in the House of Delegates are holding firm in their opposition to using federal Medicaid funds to provide health insurance to 400,000 low-income residents.

House Speaker Bill Howell says he's optimistic Democratic lawmakers will back down from their support of a proposed state budget that includes expanding Medicaid eligibility.

"Last fall, Virginia Democrats blasted Republicans for threatening a federal government shutdown and now they are using the same tactic in Richmond and don't see the hypocrisy," he says.

House Republicans are sending Democratic U.S. Senator Mark Warner a letter asking him to support their position, pointing out that the senator condemned Republicans last year for forcing a federal shutdown over a failed effort to defund the Affordable Care Act.

But state senator Donald McEachin says the letter is an election-year stunt.

"Maybe they need to go check their clerk's office, but we have passed a budget. There is a budget waiting for them to act on. It's Senate Bill 5003 if they need some help finding it," he says.

If both sides fail to reach a compromise before July 1, the government of Virginia could shut down for the first time in history.

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