PORTSMOUTH, Va (WAVY) — Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) is coming off Tuesday’s election like a proud papa. The senator campaigned for many of the Democrats who took seats in the Virginia House of Delegates.
He was Attorney General Mark Herring’s ethics professor in law school and recalled helping to convince Dr. Ralph Northam to run for public office a decade ago.
He now hopes the message from Virginia voters makes it to his colleagues in Washington D.C.
“Given that Ralph ran as a doctor, and ran on protecting healthcare, and that was seen as a really valuable thing by the Virginia voters that elected him maybe that message of ‘find healthcare solutions’ will percolate into the atmosphere here,” Kaine said.
Kaine is working on a bipartisan healthcare plan in the Senate that has 25 co-sponsors; 12 Democrats, 12 Republicans and one independent.
He says so far the Republican majority leader has not committed to a vote on it.
He does believe however, that healthcare will change at the state level under the new governor, specifically for Medicaid expansion.
“Every one of the Democrats who flipped a Republican seat said I’m going to work to expand Medicaid and my opponent has been standing in the way — with Virginians paying taxes and refusing to get the Medicaid benefit
we should get because we’re paying taxes.”
The taxes he’s talking about are part of the Affordable Care Act. The money would go to expand Medicaid to about 450,000 poor working class Virginians who need healthcare.
Virginia has been what’s called a “hold out state” and not been accepting the federal funds to make that happen.
Governor McAuliffe tried for years to pass Medicaid expansion, but Republicans always blocked the effort.