Thursday, June 19, 2014

Governor McAuliffe to hold press conference on budget

bbGovernor Terry McAuliffe will hold press conference on budget action in Richmond on Friday at 11:30 a.m. 

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe

UPDATE: Following Governor McAuliffe’s press conference  see his statement with further explanation below.

Tje Governor vetoed the Stanley amendment that prevented the unilateral expansion of Medicaid, he vetoed the new General Assembly building rennovation, and funding for judgeships and more (see Del. Scott Surovell details).


In the face of demagoguery, fear, and hypocrisy from Republicans in the Virginia General Assembly, I remain committed to the central promise of my campaign: one of the wealthiest states in one of the wealthiest nations in the world has no excuse for not providing health care to its needy citizens.

By refusing any and all compromise on the expansion of Medicaid, the Republican leadership has elected to forfeit $5 million per day in funding that we have already sent to Washington. We have already lost $850 million as of this morning.

That’s why I vetoed the Stanley Amendment and the Medicaid Innovation and Reform Commission. And it’s why I’ve instructed Secretary of Health and Human Services Bill Hazel to work with our federal partners in Washington, the insurance industry, health care providers, our university medical centers, non-profit organizations, and the hospital industry itself to extend the promise of health care to our people.

(This sounds something close to the RTD columnist Jeff Schapiro suggested option. (See below)


What are some of the options that Governor McAuliffe could take between now and July 1 when the new two-year budget takes effect – if he signs it. The budget that takes effect on July 1 stripes McAuliffe from unilaterally expanding Medicaid thanks to the sudden resignation of Sen. Phil Puckett.

Puckett and Delegate Terry Kilgore are being investigated for possible bribery. Puckett’s daughter will get permanent confirmation as a Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court judge. Republicans held her confirmation hostage since Puckett was a “sitting legislator,” they said.

The question to be answered as the Department of Justice and FBI investigates is – is the resignation an illegal act. Did the offer for a position on the tobacco commission by Terry Kilgore, Chair of the Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission, come as a condition of his resignation.

In the meantime the current 2-year budget is in effect until July 1.. McAuliffe could slip through the short window of time and expand Medicaid unilaterally. He could veto the budget or use the line-item veto striking the language that prevents him from expanding Medicaid on his own. However, the line-item veto is used for appropriations and not other language. It is not certain he could veto that Medicaid language.

It had crossed my mind that McAuliffe could get the funds necessary to implement Medicaid expansion elsewhere rather than going through General Assembly appropriations. After all he knows people in high places. It has been reported that he took a trip to DC.

Jeff Schapiro, a columnist for the Richmond Times-Dispatch came up with a tedious be plausibly possible way for McAuliffe to move forward with Medicaid expansion similar to the Marketplace Virginia option using the private sector. (Read his column HERE.)

Schapiro says that the Department of Medical Assistance Services (DMAS) that the Governor controls could be charged with implementing expansion thereby bypassing Republican legislators. Where would the money come from to pay for the implementation?

Schapiro again suggests McAuliffe’s close ties to Washington DC. Rather than federal money being tossed to the state to implement expansion which would have to be appropriated by the General Assembly and very unlikely –  the funds could come in the form of a grant.

The Medicaid Agency grant to the Governor would be directed to DMAS. DMAS then could partner with healthcare providers and insurance companies to cover 400,000 uninsured Virginians. The money would flow as a grant, the obstructionist Republican legislature could be bypassed and uninsured Virginians could be covered.

What a shame that Virginia’s Republican legislators are so fearful of the tea party and losing their seats that they would go to such lengths as bribery to kick the uninsured working poor to the curb.

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Politics, State Politics

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