RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The announcement of Virginia's move to blend Medicare and Medicaid was going to happen with or without an expansion of Medicaid.
But Governor Terry McAuliffe (D) believes it is an example of how Virginia has worked to reform the process. Republicans still don't believe the state or the federal government is ready for that kind of huge investment.
It was a campaign promise, and Governor McAuliffe continues his push for expansion, any which way he can.
"This Medicaid expansion and how it relates to Medicaid in Virginia this is critical to our budget it is already 20% of our budget," the Governor said in a one on one interview in his office.
McAuliffe continues to hold firm on his belief the budget cannot go through without Medicaid expansion. Republicans argue both sides should be having two different conversations.
'We need a clean budget not one that includes Medicaid expansion something that was inserted and not introduced by the governor something that was inserted by the senate and is holding up the other priority needs of the commonwealth," and said Del. Chris Jones (R-Suffolk) the lead budget negotiator in the House.
According to the governor today's announcement that people eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid can now sign up for one program- is evidence that Virginia has made great strides reforming the system and prepared to cover more people.
"It is a win win it shows that Virginia is on top leading on what we need to do on these health care reforms," McAuliffe said.
But republicans aren't ready to budge, and aren't ready to trust the federal government to hold up its end of the bargain long term.
"We knew this coming in I've met with shareholder groups back in October that were concerned about the contracts," said Jones. "I think there are three insurers they are dealing with. So this is nothing new. There is nothing new with this.
One thing seems increasingly clear. There is little chance this all gets wrapped up by Saturday, which is when session is supposed wrap up. The consensus is that the two sides will take a two week break from each other and come back and take another run coming to an agreement.
The budget has to be done by July 1st.
Read more about the budget battle on DecisionVirginia.com.