Announcing his plans earlier this morning, Gov. McAuliffe says he’s using his executive powers to add just 25,000 people to Virginia’s Medicaid rolls. The key bit here is that this modest expansion is only to the existing Medicaid program, and is not an expansion of Medicaid under Obamacare.[read_more]
As you may recall, back in June The Bull Elephant helped lead the charge on the #BLACKORBUST movement to address the ability for the Governor to expand Medicaid on his own. This effort involved getting legislators to commit to not passing a budget that didn’t contain an amendment like the one introduced by Sen. Dick Black (R-Loudoun) that would strip the Governor of the obvious loophole in the budget to expand Medicaid coverage to people made eligible for it under the Affordable Care Act. The amendment that ended up passing (the handsomely-named Stanley Amendment, after it’s lead sponsor, Sen. Bill Stanley (R-Franklin)) provided that no general or non-general funds may be appropriated or spent on providing coverage to that population without a further act of the General Assembly specifically authorizing it. Without the Stanley Amendment, the budget would have contained a blanket appropriation of “sum sufficient” funds to provide coverage to the 400,000 or so people targeted for it under Obamacare.
The people who resisted the #BLACKORBUST movement called it “unnecessary.” The Governor clearly disagrees. His proposal today is a far cry from what he promised to deliver, and is a visible manifestation of the constraints placed on him by the Stanley Amendment.
The General Assembly will reconvene its special session in 10 days to consider Medicaid expansion, this time without the threat of a government shutdown looming over the discussion. We will provide analysis and commentary as that session draws near, but given the electoral realities (both the impending Warner/Gillespie race and the 2015 primaries for all GA members), at this point it seems unlikely that any expansion of Medicaid under Obamacare will happen this month.