Home David Toscano Virginia House Democratic Leader David Toscano: “Back to Richmond— No Medicaid Expansion Yet”

Virginia House Democratic Leader David Toscano: “Back to Richmond— No Medicaid Expansion Yet”


by Virginia House Democratic Leader David Toscano

Back to Richmond— No Medicaid Expansion Yet

April 11, 2018

Since the House and Senate could not agree on a budget during the regular General Assembly Session, which adjourned in March, the Governor has called us back for a Special Session to get it done. The Special Session begins April 11, 2018, but no action will occur immediately on the budget. The new budget bill introduced by Governor Northam will have to go through the regular committee process just like the previous one. The House Appropriations Committee will begin its work quickly, and so it’s entirely possible that a House budget will be ready in time for floor debate on Tuesday, April 17 – but this could change depending on scheduling. We expect that the House budget will include Medicaid expansion and the hospital provider assessment, which allows us to expand without use of additional state dollars, much like it did in the regular Session, but we are not sure yet what will be included in the Senate’s budget. Because the Senate initially rejected Medicaid expansion and the provider assessment, its budget cut more than $400 million from education and other services that would have been funded by accepting the federal Medicaid dollars.While there has been some recent media coverage suggesting that Medicaid expansion will be adopted by the Senate, nothing is assured until the green lights go up on the vote board, and there will need to be considerable negotiations before a final budget compromise is reached. The momentum is positive, but Senate Republican leadership is now the main barrier, and we need to keep advocating for expansion. More than 7,000 citizens in our area would benefit from Medicaid expansion and it would certainly help our local hospitals by recapturing some of the money that would otherwise be spent on indigent care. You can watch the online live stream of the special session at this link.

It is hard to predict when we will agree on a budget. At our session on April 17 or 18, we will likely send the budgets approved by the House and Senate to a conference committee for possible resolution. That could take a week or much longer; during my first session in 2006, we did not pass a budget until June 28. However long it takes, I am confident that we will have a budget by the end of the fiscal year, as the Virginia Constitution requires.
Next up: Veto Session
In addition to the Special Session, we reconvene on April 18 for the so-called “veto session.” This is the day when we consider all of the Governor’s vetoes and any amendments he wants to make to bills that have been passed during the General Assembly Session. At this point, the Governor has vetoed eight House measures and has made recommendations to 32 House bills. Gov. Northam vetoed a bill that would have prohibited local governments from setting their own wage rates for contracts, and a bill that would have prevented Virginia from joining the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a regional compact designed to attack climate change. He also vetoed an anti-immigration bill about so-called sanctuary cities, something we do not have in Virginia. I fully expect that all of the Governor’s vetoes will be sustained.

  • From Progress VA:

    Progress Virginia Statement on Special General Assembly Session On Medicaid Expansion

    The state Senate and Majority Leader Tommy Norment must act now

    Richmond, VA—This afternoon, the Virginia General Assembly will convene in special session to pass a state budget. Progress Virginia today reiterated its call for the budget to include a clean Medicaid expansion without gimmicks or delay tactics. Approximately 400,000 Virginians could access quality, affordable health care if legislators move forward to close the coverage gap. Not only would expanding Medicaid save lives, it would also free up state dollars for significant investments in K-12 and higher education, public safety, and more.

    “Four hundred thousand Virginians can’t wait,” said Progress Virginia executive director Anna Scholl. “Conservatives have spent years obstructing health care access for Virginia families. Now, the number of hold-outs are dwindling and it’s long past time for Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment to put aside his petty, partisan games and act in the best interest of our families by expanding Medicaid now. Voters spoke last November when we swept into office a wave of healthcare supporters and we won’t hesitate to do it again at the next opportunity.”

    In partnership with New Virginia Majority, SEIU Virginia 512, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia, and the Virginia Civic Engagement Table, the Healthy Virginia Now campaign has been barnstorming the state in support of Medicaid expansion. Partners have knocked thousands of doors, delivered hundreds of thousands of digital ad impressions, sent mail to thousands of voters, and released new polling showing Virginia voters stand ready to punish state Senators who stand in the way of affordable health care access.

  • From the VA House Dems:

    Democrats Continue To Fight for Medicaid Expansion During Special Session

    Richmond, VA- The General Assembly convened for special session today to restart the process of passing a biennial budget. The House took action today to pass a procedural resolution allowing the process to commence, sending the Governor’s budget to the Appropriations committee.

    House Democratic Leader David J. Toscano and Caucus Chair Charniele Herring released the following statement after today’s session.

    “We are excited to begin the process in this special session to deliver on the budget that will move Virginia forward. Medicaid expansion will finally give health care access to up to 400,000 Virginians who need it, and ensures that our federal tax dollars are coming back home. This will allow us to accomplish much needed improvements to our schools, strengthen our economy, and give pay raises to the men and women who teach our children and those that put their lives on the line to keep us safe. We look forward to coming back next week to continue our fight for a budget Virginians voted for, and deserve.”