Skip to main content
  1. News
  2. Top News

Medicaid expansion blows up in Virginia

See also

A Democrat senator’s surprise resignation could resolve Virginia’s budget showdown by undercutting Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s bid to expand Medicaid.

“This is not necessarily the death knell, but the governor’s plan was rushed to the emergency room today,” said Steve Farnsworth, a political science professor at the University of Mary Washington.

The departure of Sen. Phillip Puckett, D-Tazewell, gives Republicans a 20-19 majority in the Senate. And the Capitol swirled with speculation about his reasons.

Democratic Leader Dick Saslaw, of Springfield, tamped down conspiracy theories that Republicans gave Puckett a golden parachute to leave.

“The Republicans are not authorized to make a deal. They’re as shocked as we are,” Saslaw told Watchdog.

Despite GOP jubilation over regaining control of the Senate — at least until a special election is called — Saslaw vowed that Medicaid expansion will remain part of the budget.

“Our goal is to settle this budget — with Medicaid in it,” he said.

Three Senate Republicans — Emmett Hanger, Walter Stosch and John Watkins — support expanding Medicaid to 400,000 Virginians. Watkins wrote the “Marketplace Virginia” plan adopted by the Senate.

But Puckett’s departure shuffles the political deck. Hanger, Stosch and Watkins are up for election next year in GOP districts where voters take a dim view of Medicaid expansion — as do all other Republican senators.

Meanwhile, the July 1 state budget deadline looms.

“It’s a bombshell,” Sen. Chap Petersen, D-Fairfax, said of Puckett’s retirement. “It doesn’t kill Medicaid expansion … but we lose control of the process. The tide has clearly turned.”

The Senate will reconvene at 5 p.m. Thursday. GOP lawmakers reportedly are ready to pass a “clean budget” that does not expand Medicaid.

Additional information can be found here.

To automatically receive my articles for FREE, click the "Subscribe" icon next to my picture atop this page; each dispatch will be sent directly to your email account.

Advertisement

News

  • Baseball Hall of Fame
    The Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown welcomes six new inductees
    Video
    Video
  • 2012 do-over
    If we were to re-do the 2012 election, a new poll suggests Romney would win
    Politics
  • Boko Haram
    Boko Haram kidnaps the wife of the vice prime minister of Cameroon
    World News
  • Ceasefire breaks
    Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu claims Hamas broke another brief ceasefire
    Gaza
  • Close call with CME
    Scientists tell how Earth survived a giant solar flare back in 2012
    Space
  • Comic-Con
    What's going on at Comic-Con? Get all the latest updates here
    Comic-Con