Senate Dems: Medicaid expansion or else

HouseGOP2014 General Assembly Session, Health Care, Issues

Today, top Senate Democrats joined Governor Terry McAuliffe and made it absolutely clear that they are willing to hold hostage funding for teachers, firefighters, police officers, hospitals and local governments in order to implement ObamaCare’s Medicaid Expansion in Virginia.

From the Richmond Times-Dispatch:

But the Senate’s 20 Democrats – who allied with three Republican senators to approve the Marketplace Virginia plan as part of the budget – say they are not willing to approve a budget without the health insurance expansion in it.

“That’s where I am,” McEachin said.

Sen. Barbara A. Favola, D-Arlington, added, “That’s where we are.”

If the Democrats stick to that position, it would put the March 8 scheduled adjournment of the General Assembly in jeopardy.

This is the epitome of Washington-style politics. Last year, Governor McAuliffe and Democrats in Washington decried Republicans for using the federal budget as leverage over ObamaCare. Now, they’re doing the exact same thing in Richmond.

Last year, both parties and both Houses agreed to a process to address Medicaid expansion separate from the budget. The General Assembly formed the Medicaid Innovation and Reform Commission to reform Medicaid before any consideration of expansion.

Governor McAuliffe and General Assembly Democrats should stop using teachers, firefighters, police officers and state employees as pawns in their political chess game. They should drop their demands for ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion and let Virginia pass a clean budget bill — no strings attached.