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Audio: Gov. McAuliffe on Syrian Refugees, Medicaid Expansion

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Gov. McAuliffe was on WTOP’s “Ask the Governor” show a few minutes ago, and had a lot to say about several topics: his just-concluded overseas trade mission (he said it was very successful, expect some big announcements); education (he talked about how crucial education is, how there are too many/too lengthy SOLs and too much “teaching to the test”); ending homelessness in Virginia for U.S. veterans; Syrian refugees and possible Medicaid expansion. Here’s some audio of Gov. McAuliffe talking about Syrian refugees and Medicaid expansion possibilities.

On the refugees, McAuliffe said “there’s nothing we can do, zero, it is the United States constitution…right now I don’t need to be spending my time on political rhetoric to try and score political points, I’m trying to be a job creator and a problem solver.” In response to a caller question on refugees, McAuliffe added that he has “no say in the matter…I can’t change this…My job is to keep our communities safe.” McAuliffe also said that he would veto a bill that “would make it more difficult” to allow Syrian refugees into Virginia, as “it’s federal law” and the “constitution is crystal clear on tihs.”

With regard to possible Medicaid expansion, Gov. McAuliffe said we should try to do it “in a way that protects the state, no cost to the state, and at the same time bring about $2.4 billion back a year.” McAuliffe added that Medicaid costs are going up as more people enroll, so “we are now getting the costs of doing this without any of the benefits.” McAuliffe urged that legislators “keep your mind open,” that his “door is open to working in a commonsense, bipartisan way.” McAuliffe said he’s particularly worried about rural hospitals, especially given that federal “DISH” payments for indigent care are slowly phasing out. “Noone should come out with a kneejerk reaction…at least have a conversation…compromise, come together for the good of the Commonwealth of Virginia…put the politics aside…and you can’t just say no without even willing to sit and talk to me and all of our experts who have very creative ideas about how we move forward…”