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BREAKING: Virginia Gov. McAuliffe to Expand Health Care Coverage in Face of GOP Demagoguery


I can’t embed the feed for whatever reason, so just click on the following image to watch Gov. McAuliffe’s press conference on Virginia’s budget at 11:30 am. I’ll blog the highlights as well. Based on multiple sources, I’m expecting good news, but we’ll see soon enough. 🙂

UPDATE 12:24 pm: Rep. Jim Moran tweets, “@TerryMcAuliffe took a stand for all Virginians, not just the ideological few, and stood up for the healthcare security of 400k Virginians.”

UPDATE 12:19 pm: The Republicans start to weigh in with the expected bitching, whining, etc. Here’s Bob Goodlatte on Twitter: “I am extremely disappointed in @GovernorVA’s decision to circumvent the General Assembly and move to unilaterally enact Medicaid expansion.” Waaaaaaaaa!!! Oh, and one of the nuttiest of the right wingnuts in the Virginia General Assembly, Greg Habeeb, tweets this cri de coeur (spelling “emperor” wrong and of course engaging in wild hyperbole, as is his wont): “@GovernorVA has made it clear he believes he was elected Emporer and is unchecked by the Rule of Law. You can’t overstate what he’s done.”

UPDATE 11:57 am: Del. Alfonso Lopez writes, “BRAVO – Proud of Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe today!!…He is sick of the ‘demagoguery, lies, fear, and cowardice…'” Also, see Del. Scott Surovell’s analysis, “Vetoes Drop and Virginia Moves Forward”. Del. Surovell writes: “In summary, he has vetoed legal prohibitions to expanding Medicaid and he is moving forward on Medicaid expansion due to political obstruction.”

UPDATE 11:53 am: DPVA tweets, “Thank you @GovernorVA for standing up for 400k uninsured Virginians!” Ben Tribbett tweets, “This is a bold move bc it means Gen Assembly is unlikely to approve much @GovernorVA does in next 3 years. TMac is making this his stand.” I agree, and would just add that the GA wouldn’t have approved much anyway, and this is the morally, economically, etc. stand to take! Ryan Nobles tweets, “Among many other things.. this is @GovernorVA challenging where the power lies in Richmond.” Good! I also hear that the Virginia State Senate will sustain Gov. McAuliffe’s vetoes. 🙂 Now, can’t wait to hear the Republicans’ wail, whine, moan, scream, etc.

UPDATE 11:51 am: Bottom line, according to Gov. McAuliffe, is that “we are moving forward,” while the House of Delegates has turned their back “time and time again.” Our health care is in horrible shape, we have the right to help people and do the right thing. “I go to bed every night with a pit in my stomach” because of sick Virginians he’s met who are counting on us to do the right thing and get this done.

UPDATE 11:45 am: Del. Mark Keam tweets, “@GovernorVA announced he will use power of line item veto to strike MIRC in budget to seek Medicaid expansion! Thank you Gov. McAuliffe!” Del. Marcus Simon tweets, “Virginia Politics has been making a lot of us sick lately.  Today Virginia just got a lot healthier.  I applaud..” Gov. McAuliffe says public-private partnerships are an option among several other options, but we WILL provide care for our citizens. Gov. McAuliffe thanks Attorney General’s office, says he’s working closely with AG’s office on this. The bottom line is that 27 states have expanded Medicaid expansion, time for Virginia to do that too. DPVA Comms Director Ashley Bauman tweets, “So proud to work for @TerryMcAuliffe, a fierce advocate for ALL Virginians.” Progress Virginia tweets, “Thank you @GovernorVA for standing up for health care for Virginia families!” Former McAuliffe campaign comms director Brennan Bilberry tweets, “Gov. McAuliffe’s decision on Medicaid morally right, supported by majority of Virginians. Tea Party minority wrong on politics, policy” So true! Jeff Schapiro tweets, “If legislative R’s don’t think @GovernorVA McAuliffe is ticked about health care, he’s also blocking construction of their new office bldg.”

UPDATE 11:38 am: This is the context which Gov. McAuliffe had to evaluate this overdue budget which contained larger-than-necessary budget cuts thanks to Republican refusal to take Medicaid funds. Tempting to veto the entire budget, but no confidence in General Assembly to get a budget. Will sign legislation, but will make line-item vetoes: 1) MIRC (Medicaid Innovation Review Commission) in its entirety, as it’s “merely a sham to pretend that the legislature is actually doing something,” which it isn’t — not wasting any more time on this sham, not going to attend or assist the MERC in any future activities; 2) the Stanley floor amendment, since it restricts something that doesn’t exist. With respect to healthcare, let me be clear, “I am moving forward.” Sec. Hazel will have a plan on my desk no later than 9/1 of this year to put in place a Medicaid-financed health care fix. 🙂

UPDATE 11:32 am: Gov. McAuliffe starting the press conference now. Says it’s “unconscionable” that we’re not expanding Medicaid for hundreds of thousands of Virginians. Yet, “every single time” Republicans have “said no.” He ran and won on the platform of expanding Medicaid. Republicans not only wouldn’t compromise, they wouldn’t even sit down and talk about the issue. Marketplace Virginia wasn’t perfect, but was the best chance to get something through the House of Delegates. The GOP leadership in the House “rejected compromise.” Gov. McAuliffe then offered yet ANOTHER compromise, yet once again Republican House leadership “said no…chose instead to subject our citizens to a protracted budget stalemate.” Then, last week, the House Republicans again said now, refused “any and all compromise,” turned its back on Virginians who need health care coverage. They’ve also elected to forfeit more than $5 million per day — $852 million to date!

  • Dan Sullivan

    Bravo Governor McAuliffe.  

  • linda b

    is it true no judgeships??? so Puckett’s daughter is not going to get her job??

  • JHooe44

    Do these vetoes need to be approved by either house of the General Assembly? What is the legal-eeze of getting this done?

  • linda b

    Thank you Terry…

  • Summary: rant, rave, blah blah blah.

    The Governor has no authority to expand Medicaid unilaterally or without the specific approval of the General Assembly.  The Governor’s attempt to usurp the constitutionally proscribed powers of the legislative branch is a dangerous threat to the rule of law, separation of powers, and foundation of representative democracy that we simply cannot allow. We are prepared to challenge this blatant executive overreach through all available avenues, including the court system.

    Some of the other vetoes appear to be petty and politically motivated. The continuity and operation of our judicial system is of paramount importance, and should not be subject to political gamesmanship. Governor McAuliffe signed the bipartisan ethics bill; his decision to veto this funding is counterproductive and unnecessary. The House of Delegates will act accordingly when it convenes on Monday.

  • IBelieveInHenryHowell

    YES, I am very proud of my vote today. Thank you Terry for being a caring leader.

  • Richmond, VA – Following the Governor’s announcement of his vetoes to the biennial budget, passed last week by the General Assembly, Lieutenant Governor Northam released the following statement:

    “I am fully supportive of the Governor’s actions on the budget, which clearly communicate the priorities of this administration. The most pressing issue is providing affordable, quality healthcare for the more than 400,000 hardworking Virginians who are currently without coverage. I am confident that we will do everything we can to close this coverage gap, which is a moral and financial imperative.

    Additionally, the Governor is absolutely right that if Virginia cannot even afford initiatives to reduce homelessness, it is unconscionable that we spend money on renovated offices for members of the General Assembly. Finally, Virginians deserve stronger ethics reform than what emerged from the General Assembly and I look forward to working to improve those policies next year.”

  • Andy Schmookler

    That’s the motto of my campaign. That’s what I believe is the winning strategy for Liberal America to defeat this destructive — evil — force that’s taken over the political right.

    And, I’m asking: is what Governor McAuliffe is doing what that motto looks like, played out in the budget battles of Virginia?

    I hope that he can pick up the mirror and use this episode to press the battle by exposing the ugliness of what the Republicans have been doing on this expansion of Medicaid issue. Including the perhaps criminal deal for Puckett’s seat.

    See the evil– and show it to the people of Virginia. These Republicans have behaved in an ugly fashion, from beginning to end. They are a microcosm of the persistently destructive force that’s taken over the Republican Party.

    Governor McAuliffe has the opportunity to expose this part of that ugly picture. It is his best way to fight the battle that’s already at hand, as he has rightly chosen not to surrender. (This is like Obama and the debt ceiling crisis this last time, and we all remember how the Republicans got creamed on that one.)

    Governor McAuliffe has stood his ground, and now we must encourage him to press the battle.

    I’d say to him: Offense, not defense. Don’t expend great energy on defending yourself against their charges. Brush those quickly aside as nonsense and hypocrisy and pour your energy into an attack on what it is that they have shown themselves to be.

    That truth is their greatest vulnerability.

    It is only by fraud that these “conservative” and “Christian” Republicans get the credibility they need to wreak their damage on our society.

    See the evil. Call it out. Press the battle. Take their power from them.

  • pvogel

    Thia is  a perfedct  example   of why I vote  democratic.    The louder the GOP   cries,  the sweeter  the music.     If you  are  a member of a party that ignore  a  majority vote, you deserve  whatever you get.  just  ask Eric  Cantor, In his  district, he ignored  his voters.     Statewide,  we  are now  a blue state  screw  purple

  • Lowell, I made a promise to you during my campaign and I intend to keep it.

    That’s why, earlier this morning, I vetoed several pieces of legislation that prevented Virginia from closing the coverage gap and instructed my administration to do everything in our power to provide health care to all Virginians.

    In the face of demagoguery, fear, and hypocrisy from Republicans in the Virginia General Assembly, I remain committed to the central promise of my campaign: one of the wealthiest states in one of the wealthiest nations in the world has no excuse for not providing health care to its needy citizens.

    Please donate $5 today and declare that you think health care in Virginia is a moral imperative.

    Unfortunately, my vetoes today are not the final chapter in this story – and I’m counting on you to support me, just as you did last year.

    By refusing any and all compromise on the expansion of Medicaid, the Republican leadership has elected to forfeit $5 million per day in funding that we have already sent to Washington. We have already lost $850 million as of this morning.

    That’s why I vetoed the Stanley Amendment and the Medicaid Innovation and Reform Commission. And it’s why I’ve instructed Secretary of Health and Human Services Bill Hazel to work with our federal partners in Washington, the insurance industry, health care providers, our university medical centers, non-profit organizations, and the hospital industry itself to extend the promise of health care to our people.

    If you still believe that providing health care to hard working Virginians is a moral imperative, I’m counting on your support today.

    Make a $5 donation to help me in this fight.

    During my campaign, you supported me and my deeply held conviction that closing the coverage gap was the right thing to do for Virginia’s families and for our economy.

    I’m counting on you to continue fighting alongside me.

    Thank you,

    Terry McAuliffe

  • ProgressVA Executive Director Anna Scholl released the following statement in reaction to Governor Terry McAuliffe’s budget announcements: “Governor McAuliffe took a definite step forward today towards closing the coverage gap. While there is still more work to be done, these actions demonstrate a commitment to the 400,000 Virginians who deserve access to affordable, quality health care. The House of Delegates has repeatedly refused to compromise, turning their backs on their constituents in favor of blatant political gamesmanship.

    “We also applaud the Governor’s veto of funding for the Virginia Conflict of Interest and Ethics Advisory Council. As we’ve said repeatedly, the “ethics reform” legislation passed this year is a sham that includes no real reforms or penalties. Virginians should be embarrassed that again and again we have to rely on federal officials to root out corruption in Virginia. The Governor’s commitment to introducing real ethics reform legislation in the 2015 legislative session is a real step forward and we hope legislators will get on board.”

  • Outrageous. There’s no other word for Governor McAuliffe’s press conference today, in which he announced his intention to govern independently of the General Assembly, in contravention of the fundamental principle of the separation of power.

    The Governor is free to negotiate with the General Assembly, to disagree with the General Assembly, even to lambaste the General Assembly. What he is not free to do is ignore the General Assembly. Under our constitution, neither the Governor nor the General Assembly has the authority to act unilaterally-yet today, that’s exactly what Governor McAuliffe said he plans to do.

    In a press conference announcing his intended actions on the budget, the Governor announced his plans to use his veto pen to abolish the bipartisan Medicaid Innovation and Reform Commission (MIRC) and short-circuit the methodological reforms it is overseeing. He also announced that he will move forward with Medicaid Expansion in Virginia absent any legislative authorization whatsoever.

    The legislature created MIRC, on a bipartisan basis, to facilitate the reform and modernization of Medicaid, and to assess whether the legislature’s conditions for Medicaid Expansion had been met. But instead of letting MIRC do its job, Governor McAuliffe has decided to abolish it-leaving vital reforms incomplete.

    In his wide-ranging budget press conference, McAuliffe also announced his plan to veto appropriations for the Virginia Conflict of Interest and Ethics Advisory Council. Already under scrutiny over allegations of selling access through his PAC, the Governor has decided to stop ethics reform in its tracks through a back door budget action-even after signing the bills creating the new commission.

    And it doesn’t end there. Despite near-unanimous agreement on the need for more judges, McAuliffe even announced a veto of $19 million in funding for new judges merely because he wants the authority to select them himself-despite that being the General Assembly’s prerogative. Our Governor would rather see no new judges than let the General Assembly exercise its constitutional authority to elect them.

    Today’s press conference was an outrageous show of executive arrogance. Maybe that sort of thing works in Washington, but here in Virginia, we take separation of power seriously. The Virginia General Assembly is not an advisory commission. I know that we’re now on a tight schedule due to the fact that Senate Democrats refused to permit any action on the budget for well over two months, but perhaps the Governor should find some time to read the state constitution. He might learn something.

    At his press conference, McAuliffe said, “I’ve always said that if the federal government changes in any manner, we change, plain and simple.” And that’s exactly what he’s done-bringing the worst of Washington-style politics to Virginia.”

  • ir003436

    I’m not sure I understand what just happened . . .  I’ll have to read a bit more to see exactly what Gov. TMac did.

    However, in my native South Mississippi vernacular, it seems to me as though he beat the Republicans like a borrowed mule.  Does that about sum it up???

  • RICHMOND(June 20, 2014)–Attorney General Mark R. Herring released the following statement after Governor McAuliffe announced he will explore options to expand healthcare for Virginians:

    “After being elected on the promise to expand healthcare to more Virginians, Governor McAuliffe has done the right thing by fighting hard for months to do just that, even in the face of unreasonable opposition in the legislature. The Governor proposed and endorsed several bipartisan compromises that would have closed the coverage gap, giving hundreds of thousands of Virginians access to healthcare, bringing billions of dollars back to Virginia, creating jobs, and producing public safety benefits with expanded access to mental health and addiction treatment. For only political reasons and no substantive policy reasons, a majority of the legislature has rejected every reasonable compromise.

    The Governor today announced he is moving ahead to help people and that’s the right thing to do. In the coming weeks, we will see his specific proposals to return federal funds to the Commonwealth to provide critical health care for our people, and we will work closely together to ensure he’s able to do that.”


    Petersburg, Va.-Virginia Organizing State Governing Board Chairperson Sandra A. Cook responded to Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe’s decision to move forward administratively on Medicaid expansion:

    “We are very excited with Governor Terry McAuliffe’s decision to line-item veto the obstacles in the budget that legislators put in his way regarding Medicaid expansion.  His action will help close the coverage gap so that more people can get health insurance in Virginia.  And we are absolutely thrilled that the Governor is going to move forward administratively to expand Medicaid!

    “We will continue to work with the Governor, his staff and others, to find a solution that works for all Virginians, especially the 400,000 Virginians who will be directly affected by Medicaid expansion.

    “Medicaid expansion is not a partisan issue, but it has been overly politicized. Virginia Organizing calls on everyone to take the politics out of Medicaid expansion and focus on the people that will get health insurance, the jobs that will be created, the hospitals that will be helped, and all Virginians who will benefit from our tax dollars returning to the Commonwealth.”


    Senate Democrats celebrate governor’s commitment to executive action, veto of obstructing amendments

    RICHMOND – This afternoon, Senate Democrats praised Gov. McAuliffe’s decision to veto the Stanley amendment, bypass the Medicaid Innovation and Reform Commission, and move to close the coverage gap through executive action.

    Said Caucus Chair Sen. Donald McEachin (D – Henrico), “Governor McAuliffe’s announcement means that up to 400,000 Virginians – most from working families – will gain access to quality, affordable health care. As a result, they’ll lead longer, healthier, and more secure lives – to the lasting benefit of all Virginians. We in the Senate look forward to sustaining the governor’s vetoes.”

    Said Democratic Leader Sen. Dick Saslaw (D – Fairfax), “Governor McAuliffe has done the right thing, and I thank him for his leadership. Closing the coverage gap will save hundreds of lives, create tens of thousands of jobs, and bring billions of our federal tax dollars back to the Commonwealth.”

  • Governor McAuliffe takes bold step for hardworking Virginians

    Governor vetoes line item blocking Medicaid expansion, breaks the obstructionist gridlock

    RICHMOND, VA – Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia (PPAV) applauds Governor McAuliffe for vetoing efforts by politicians to block 400,000 hardworking Virginians from accessing affordable health care through Medicaid.

    “We commend and fully support Gov. McAuliffe for breaking through the political gridlock and standing up for the women and families whose health and well-being depend on his leadership,” said Cianti Stewart-Reid, executive director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia. “This is an important step forward for Virginians and we call on all elected officials to set aside personal politicking and join the Governor in providing healthcare to hundreds of thousands of hardworking Virginia families in need.”

    Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia (PPAV) is leading the cause and fight for the quality health care women and their families deserve. Virginia women and families need more access to health care, not less.

    *According to a recent Gallup poll, states that have expanded Medicaid and opened their own health care marketplaces under the Affordable Care Act have seen a higher rate of decline in the number of uninsured.

    *More than half of all pregnancies in Virginia are unintended, and in 2008 there were 375,500 women in need of affordable contraceptive services and supplies.

    *Women living in rural areas – specifically in the Alleghany, Rappahannock, and Southern Virginia market regions – have seen a huge increase in the distance they must travel to receive OB-GYN care due to closures.

    *According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), in 2011, 39 percent of Virginia’s counties did not have any OB-GYNs.

    *Virginia ranks in the worst category for rates of breast cancer deaths among both African-American and white women.


  • Barbara Comstock’s Opposition To Medicaid Expansion Makes No Fiscal Sense

    FAIRFAX, VA – Following today’s action on the budget by Governor McAuliffe and Barbara Comstock’s opposition to the Medicaid expansion, John Foust issued the following statement:

    “Barbara Comstock would stop Virginians from receiving our own tax dollars back from Washington for the sake of her right-wing agenda – and having balanced seven budgets in Fairfax, I can tell you that just doesn’t make any fiscal sense.  But Comstock’s decision to once again go along with extremists in Richmond has real consequences for us: increasing healthcare costs for everyone, costing our state more money, and jeopardizing support for important priorities that we care about like education.  Comstock is showing once again that her right-wing agenda may fit right in with the Republican Congress in Washington, but it’s out of touch with the values of Northern Virginia families.”

  • pvogel

    Did the govenor  veto  GOP    favorite  stuff too, as well as the     medicare  banning?   Because  now you can have horsetrading!

  • (he spelled it “Emporer”) without noting that he spelled it wrong. Doesn’t that violate some basic rule of journalistic ethics?