Virginia governor will use his powers to expand Medicaid
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe vowed Friday to bypass the General Assembly and expand Medicaid eligibility for about 400,000 low-income residents on his own.
The Democratic governor said his staff has begun working with the federal government, insurance plans, hospitals and other groups on how to expand healthcare coverage for the poor, adults under 138% of poverty without legislative approval.
“Let me be crystal clear, I am moving forward to get healthcare for our Virginia citizens,” McAuliffe said at news conference at the state Capitol.
McAuliffe had tried unsuccessfully for months to persuade state Republi- can lawmakers to approve some form of Medicaid expansion. But he said Friday he had “no illusions” that Republicans were interested in compromising on the issue.
“They have turned their back, time and time again,” McAuliffe said.
He said he’s ordered Virginia’s Secretary of Health and Human Resources Dr. William A. Hazel Jr. to present a plan no later than Sept. 1 on “how we move forward with healthcare in the face of the demagoguery, the lies, the fear and the cowardice that have gripped this debate for far too long.”
McAuliffe said he believes there are a number of ways he can legally expand Medicaid without the General Assembly’s approval. But leaders of the GOP-controlled state House responded Friday that McAuliffe does not have that power and they are prepared to fight.