Excellent preview (see video below) by Del. Marcus Simon (D-Falls Church) of next week’s Virginia General Assembly special session on the budget and possible Medicaid expansion. A few key points are: 1) Virginia has been trying to opt in to Medicaid expansion since 2013; 2) the big change now regarding the chances of Medicaid expansion is that Democrats gained 15 seats in the House of Delegates in November 2017, which may have helped prompt 19 House Republicans, like Del. Terry Kilgore, to move towards overt support of Medicaid expansion; 3) the 2018 Virginia General Assembly completed its regular session without a budget; 4) the House version of the budget included Medicaid expansion (with work requirements) but the Senate version didn’t include Medicaid expansion (which means they had to cut $421 million out of the governor’s budget from things like education); 5) Medicaid expansion actually brings a lot more than $421 million into Virginia; 6) the way work requirements are currently worded, they’re “not too onerous…just enough to give, frankly, Republicans some cover to change their mind and shift their position on Medicaid”; 7) Gov. Northam called a special session on April 11 and proposed a budget with “clean” Medicaid expansion; 8) “not a whole lot is going to happen on the 11th” – the two budget bills have been pre-filed, the House and Senate will gavel in, agree to procedural resolutions, set up a calendar, and most likely refer the budget to House Appropriations, which will meet on April 13; 9) on Wednesday, April 18, the General Assembly will meet for the “reconvene” or “veto session,” 10) then the House and Senate will have to work things out, possibly a conference committee on April 18; 11) they have until June 30, ultimately, to come up with a new budget; 12) to a large extent, there is a House/Senate dynamic at work, and the important thing is to reach out to your State Senator, particularly on the Senate Finance Committee, and urge them to support Medicaid expansion (if they’re on the fence); 13) there’s “poker playing” going on here, in which there are Republican Senators very close to coming out for Medicaid expansion but don’t want to say so until towards the very end; 14) also, some of the more conservative Senators from Southwest Virginia might be among the Republican Senators most amenable to Medicaid expansion; 15) once Medicaid expansion becomes inevitable, there could be a lot of Republican Senators who want to participate in the process.