The Senate Finance Committee voted Tuesday to amend the House of Delegates version of the 2014-2016 state budget to resemble the budget passed by the Senate last Thursday, which included “Marketplace Virginia,” the “private option” plan to extend health insurance to up to 400,000 Virginians. The amendment passed with bipartisan support.
Senate Democratic Caucus Chairman Sen. Donald McEachin (D-Henrico) said, “We have managed to do in our chamber exactly that which the governor has asked us to do, which is to find common ground. This is not the type of expansion I would have written, but I am more than happy to join hands with Senator Watkins and others who have approached this on a bipartisan basis. I hope our colleagues down the hall take note of the fact that we have on a bipartisan basis found that common ground, as our governor charged us to do, in advancing a good solution for health care for all Virginians.”
State Sen. Janet Howell (D-Fairfax) said, “Embedded in the budget bill is a measure to ensure health care for all Virginians. This is the most important issue to come before the legislature in the twenty-three years I’ve been here. We have to move forward. It’s the morally right thing to do, it’s the correct thing to do for our businesses, and it’s essential for the health of our healthcare system.”
State Sen. Phil Puckett (D-Russell) said, “I want to focus on one issue that is very troublesome to those of us from the rural areas of our Commonwealth, and that’s the status of our rural hospitals. We’ve already had a hospital in Lee County close, and we’re dealing with the issues of that situation right now. And to think that we have other hospitals that are on the brink, from financial situations, of closing – it’s extremely important that we’re on the right side of this issue in Virginia, and that we move forward.”