Home Senate Republican, Democrat call on House to pass state budget

Senate Republican, Democrat call on House to pass state budget


state-capitol-headerSenate Majority Leader Sen. Dick Saslaw (D -Fairfax) and Sen. John Watkins (R-Powhatan) called on the Virginia House of Delegates to end procedural delays and pass a version of the Senate’s budget, highlighting both the importance of closing the coverage gap and individual delegates’ willingness to deny coverage to the uninsured even as they themselves access generous insurance coverage through the state.

Said Sen. Saslaw, “They need to send our bill back here. Our bill needs to go into conference. Their bill will go out […] and both bills will be in conference. We’re ready to go. And we’ve been ready to go. If they want to allow what they call tradition to hold up government, I can’t stop that. But that’s where we are right now.”

Continued Sen. Saslaw, “Probably somewhere between 35 and 40 delegates in the House who currently oppose expansion are people who have their insurance through the state. They’re part time workers […] and yet we’ve got essentially Cadillac insurance plans heavily subsidized by the state. It seems to me we can allow at least a basic plan to be purchased in the private sector.”

Said Sen. Watkins, “350 to 400,000 people are in the gap. They’re not eligible for Medicaid as we currently have it constructed in Virginia, and they make too little money to be eligible for the federal exchange. So what we are trying to do with Marketplace Virginia is provide a basic policy to this group of people.” 

Continued Sen. Watkins, “70% of the people in that gap have people in their families that work for a living. They’re income earners. They just don’t earn enough to be eligible for the federal program. They’re being penalized, by us, but yet we turn around and subsidize for those that wish — out of the 140 members here in the legislature — our policies.”



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