Senate Democrats renew call for budget that closes coverage gap

state-capitol2With special session approaching, Senate Democrats drew attention to the outpouring of public support over the last two weeks for efforts to close the health care coverage gap, renewing their calls for House Republicans to negotiate on, or offer an alternative to, Marketplace Virginia.

When the House and Senate adjourned without a budget, The Washington Post reported that Gov. McAuliffe “want[ed] lawmakers to return home to hear from their constituents on the importance of expanding Medicaid eligibility.” Consequently, the governor chose to wait for two weeks before reconvening the legislature.

During that time, Virginians from all walks of life have asked lawmakers to close the coverage gap in our health care system — through Marketplace Virginia, Medicaid expansion, or by any means necessary. Today, Democrats responded to that outpouring of support.

Said Caucus Chair Sen. Donald McEachin (D – Henrico), “We need to pass a budget, and we need to close the coverage gap. We can do both — but only if House Republicans will put aside their rigid ideological agenda and deal with the issue at hand. We have compromised at every turn, but their answer has always been ‘no.’ They’ve refused to negotiate on Marketplace Virginia, and they’ve refused to put forward any kind of alternative. I hope that, in talking to their constituents, they’ve finally realized that we need to work together.”

Said Majority Leader Sen. Dick Saslaw (D – Fairfax), “Virginians from all walks of life have asked us to set aside partisan political posturing and do what’s right. In the Senate, a bipartisan majority is ready and willing to close the coverage gap — but we can’t pass a budget by ourselves. Nothing is going to change until House Republicans come to the table and agree to work constructively.”

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