PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — The General Assembly adjourned over the weekend without passing a state budget or extending Medicaid. That didn’t make newly-elected Governor Terry McAuliffe very happy.
The governor toured Portsmouth’s Bon Secours Maryview Medical Center Monday afternoon and laid the blame squarely on the GOP.
“It’s the House republicans who continue to say ‘no, no, no. You can’t get ahead.’ If we come together, we can do it. It’s in the best interest of the Commonwealth of Virginia,” McAuliffe said.
The governor said expanding the federal government’s Medicaid program is the right thing to do because he says it will close a healthcare coverage gap. However, he said House republicans won’t support his bid for the program’s expansion.
“Hospitals are going to close if we don’t take this money,” McAuliffe said. “Free clinics will stop serving people, and that’s going to have an economic impact. As governor, I want to have a healthy workforce. I want to entice businesses from all over the globe to come to Virginia.”
In Portsmouth, the governor told a round table of elected leaders and medical professionals that the state would realize a huge cost savings by expanding Medicaid.
“We will save a billion dollars by doing this from out state treasury. That billion dollars we could invest by helping our deputy sheriffs, who are on food stamps and helping pre-k, better access to higher ed for students,” he said.
Because the governor believes so strongly in Medicaid expansion, he has called a special General Assembly session for March 24 to take up the issue and to pass a budget for the state.
You can count on WAVY.com to let you know what happens at that session.