New shots have been fired in the Virginia Medicaid expansion fight. Gov. Terry McAuliffe used his line-item veto power on Friday to remove portions of the state budget that would block the Medicaid expansion he promised to enact during his election campaign last year.
McAuliffe, who had previously threatened to veto the entire budget, will now avoid a government shutdown but continue a battle with Republicans in the state legislature to see if the Medicaid expansion goes ahead. The GOP took control of the Virginia General Assembly earlier this month after gaining a majority in the state Senate thanks to the scandal-plagued resignation of Democrat Phillip Puckett.
From the Washington Post:
The governor for a month has been quietly exploring ways to get around the General Assembly to provide health care to 400,000 uninsured Virginians. On Friday, he publicly stated that he was pursuing such options.
“Secretary Hazel will have a plan on my desk by no later than September, first detailing how we can move Virginia health care forward even in the face of the demagoguery, lies, fear and cowardice that have gripped this debate for too long,” McAuliffe said, referring to Health and Human Resources Secretary William A. Hazel Jr.
Republicans have suggested that they may formally challenge the constitutionality of a McAuliffe veto.