FISHERSVILLE — Gov. Terry McAuliffe brought his campaign to expand Medicaid in Virginia to Augusta Health on Saturday.
Senators and delegates are now in the midst of working on a $96 billion state budget, which the Democratic governor says he is “insistent” includes expansion to as many as 400,000 uninsured Virginians. The Republican-led House of Delegates is against the idea, while the Senate — behind Democrats and a few Republicans — has devised a plan called “Marketplace Virginia” to extend Medicaid.
The state's current share for Medicaid is about $7 billion a year.
The federal government, under the Affordable Care Act, promises to fund the first three years of expansion — a vow many Republicans are skeptical of.
“These are folks who get out of bed, put their pants on and they’re working every single day,” McAuliffe said during a round-table discussion with doctors and hospital personnel. “This is about bringing our money back to Virginia. … It’s hard when one chamber [the House] won’t even talk to you.”
Three House Republicans held a press conference in response to the governor’s visit at Eavers Tire Pros nearby. They urged that Medicaid — the 50-year-old federal program managed by the states to provide medical care for low-income families and individuals — be reformed first before Virginia agrees to an expansion.
“The fight is a tough one,” said Del. Dickie Bell, R-Staunton, “but we’re in it for the long haul.”
See Monday's print edition of the Daily New-Record or check back with DNRonline.com for complete story from Saturday's event.