RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - "No more excuses!" That's what Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe is telling state lawmakers as he makes another push to expand Medicaid before he leaves office.
He says 400,000 Virginians will benefit, but Republicans say the governor has not said anything that will change their minds.
Supporters of Medicaid expansion say low income and communities of color will benefit most from this type of health care coverage. Governor McAuliffe believes the entire Commonwealth will benefit from it.
"If we can bring $2.5 billion back a year, create a lot of jobs and provide healthcare, why wouldn't we do it? This is our money," he said.
That's why the governor is proposing a budget amendment giving him the power to expand Medicaid on Oct. 1. McAuliffe says now that Obamacare is here to stay, he's fed up with the opposition.
"We're done," he said. "There are no more excuses. The President of the Untied States of America, who ran on repeal, admitted on Friday that he's just going to let it stay."
In a statement, Virginia House Republican leaders, who are the majority, say it's the wrong policy for the Commonwealth. They worry about future budget deficits and said, "Every dollar spent on Medicaid is one less that can be spent on education, transportation, or public safety. Every federal dollar not spent on expanding a broken program is a dollar not borrowed from future generations."
Governor McAuliffe warns Virginia could get left behind.
"It's here to stay," said Governor McAuliffe. "Other states are now going to move forward, so we could be in a place next year where our surrounding states - North Carolina, West Virginia, Maryland - all have taken the expansion coverage, and we're sitting here, not having brought that money back."
Lawmakers meet again on April 5 for a veto session, and the topic of Medicaid expansion will more than likely be brought up. The House says, it will be rejected.
The Governor told reporters his door is open for negotiation. The statement from the Governor's office:
The full statement from House Republican leaders:
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