Va. legislature rejects Medicaid expansion

The Virginia Legislature passed a two-year budget late Thursday night that rejects expanding Medicaid coverage to its citizens under ObamaCare.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) had pressed for Virginia to join other states in expanding Medicaid coverage, but a Senate taken over by Republicans this week rejected the bid.

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The state Senate approved the budget in a 21-18 vote, with one Democrat voting for it.

Before that vote, the Senate voted 21-19 in favor of a floor amendment that the blocked funding of Medicaid’s expansion without the approval of Virginia’s Legislature.

The budget bill was then immediately approved in a 69-31 vote by Virginia’s GOP-controlled House.

McAuliffe could veto the budget, but that would cause a government shutdown.

The governor promised in his 2013 campaign to expand Medicaid in Virginia under the Affordable Care Act.

“This evening’s actions demonstrated how deeply committed Republicans in the General Assembly are to denying 400,000 Virginians access to life-saving healthcare,” McAuliffe said.

McAuliffe did not threaten a veto, but said he would review the budget when it reaches his desk. He also vowed the fight to expand Medicaid was “far from over.”

“This is the right thing to do for Virginia, and I will not rest until we get it done,” he added.

Earlier this week state Sen. Phillip Puckett (D) stepped down from his seat, allegedly as part of a deal negotiated with Republicans to allow him to become deputy director of the state’s Tobacco Commission and paving the way for his daughter to receive a full-time judgeship position.

Puckett’s decision gave Republicans the majority in Virginia’s Senate.