The Senate passed a budget including the proposal, meaning the two chambers will have to iron out the differences in a conference committee or face the risk of going yet again into biennial budget overtime.
“I commend the bipartisan group of legislators from both chambers of the General Assembly who voted today to put their constituents and Virginia’s economy ahead of partisan politics. Because of those votes, the Senate budget contains a smart, market-based path forward to covering more Virginians and growing our economy in the process. While I am disappointed that House Republicans chose ideology ahead of what’s best for the Commonwealth on this preliminary vote, I remain optimistic that members of both parties can find common ground to accept this good deal for Virginia,” Gov. Terry McAuliffe said in a statement Thursday evening after the votes had been taillied.
McAuliffe had pledged during his 2013 gubernatorial campaign to work to expand Virginia’s Medicaid system to add 400,000 people to the insurance rolls. The Marketplace Virginia compromise would achieve the goal by tacking a slightly different approach, using a more market-based approach.
“We cannot support a budget that does nothing to close the health care coverage gap,” said Democratic House Leader David Toscano. “This budget fails to assist the around 400,000 currently uninsured Virginians and fails to accept the federal money our hospitals need to continue serving their communities.”
“By refusing to take our own federal tax dollars, we are intruding upon other important areas of our state budget to make up for the cuts our hospitals face,” said Democratic Caucus Chair Mark Sickles. “This budget cuts important priorities like education, research, technology transfer, and economic development all because House Republicans refuse to close the coverage gap and access our federal tax dollars.”