Republicans in the House of Delegates and Governor Terry McAuliffe appear no closer to resolving the standoff over Medicaid expansion. But that hasn't stopped either side from trying to sway Virginians.
Even Virginia's First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe has been lobbying. Tuesday, she made the case at the Johnson Health Center in Lynchburg. McAuliffe said too many Virginians are caught in a "coverage gap." They make too much money to qualify for current Medicaid coverage but not enough to pay for individual insurance coverage. "I am a mom of five children," McAuliffe told WDBJ7. "The governor and I have five children and I can't imagine what life would be like if we had to make the choices between putting food on our table or making a wellness checkup visit."
McAuliffe and other Democrats say Virginia should accept federal money to expand Medicaid coverage. Republicans in the House of Delegates, however, say they're united in opposing Medicaid expansion because Virginia will eventually have to foot the bill. There is no guarantee the federal money will be extended beyond three years.
In a conference call Tuesday morning, Republican leaders from the House of Delegates called for McAuliffe to separate the Medicaid expansion proposal from current budget negotiations. "I don't see how he ever gets the votes," Majority whip Jackson Miller said. "I can tell you right now the Republican House Caucus is so resolved to stick to their principles here that we're wasting time and we're wasting taxpayer dollars." Miller says the governor is going back on a pledge he made during the campaign to not tie Medicaid expansion to the budget.