A procedural change to may be the starting point of a compromise to end a months-long impasse over the Virginia state budget, one that could lead state government to shut down for the first time in history.
Republican state Senator Emmett Hangeris is proposing to change how the Medicaid Innovation and Reform Commission votes on whether to expand Medicaid eligibility. Under current law, the commission must vote to expand the health insurance program for the poor before any expansion. Hanger is proposing the state expand Medicaid unless a majority of lawmakers who sit on the commission vote against it.
House Republicans, who oppose Medicaid expansion, say they would consider the proposal. Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who like Hanger and most Democratic lawmakers favors expanded eligibility, say he is encouraged by it.
The Medicaid debate has delayed passage of a state budget.