LaRock Applauds Decision to Decouple Medicaid Expansion and Pass a Budget
Richmond, VA – The Virginia Senate and House of Delegates agreed on a budget just before midnight last night, ending a months-long impasse.
“This isn’t about Democrats or Republicans winning or losing. Passing a budget represents a win for the people of Virginia” Del. Dave LaRock stated. “It’s extremely important that we govern responsibly and support our schools and local governments by giving them a budget. This was a long time coming, but we got a budget passed and averted a shutdown.”
The final budget bill does not fund Medicaid expansion, a key source of contention. “Medicaid expansion is a controversial issue, and it was wrong for the Senate and Gov. McAuliffe to insert it into the budget. Taking Medicaid out of budget negotiations was the right thing to do, and it’s something we saw broad support for from citizens and local governments across Virginia. We can continue to debate and discuss the merits of expansion, but the budget should never have been used as leverage in that debate.” said LaRock.
An impending $1.5 billion budget shortfall added to the urgency of passing a budget. The shortfall was addressed by eliminating spending increases and tapping into the state’s rainy day fund. Most programs will remain at last year’s funding levels, with targeted increases to K-12 education and mental health services.
After passing both the House and Senate, the bill now moves to Governor McAuliffe’s desk. “This is the end of the budget debate between the House and Senate, but if the governor submits any amendment that expands Medicaid, the House will reject that amendment.” LaRock noted.
Medicaid expansion may be considered separately at a later date, LaRock said. “We need to give close scrutiny to any proposal that will lock Virginia into another costly welfare expansion. We have to continue to work to get our Medicaid costs under control, and able-bodied adults need good jobs, not dependency on sub-standard subsidized health care.”