Check out this article from yesterday's Richmond Times-Dispatch:
McAuliffe strongly backs Medicaid expansion
Posted: Thursday, March 28, 2013 12:00 am
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe on Wednesday came out strongly in favor of expanding Medicaid in Virginia under the federal Affordable Care Act.
“We need to have the Medicaid expansion here in Virginia,” McAuliffe said outside the State Board of Elections headquarters in Richmond, after dropping off petitions with more than 35,000 signatures to qualify for the June 11 primary ballot.
“First and foremost … 400,000 to 500,000 Virginians would get access to quality health care next year. It’s important socially. Morally it’s the right thing to do. But also from a business sense it’s an important thing to do.”
McAuliffe said the state would reap billions in economic benefits. He said Virginia should take advantage of the money the federal government is willing to provide to subsidize the expansion and make use of the money Virginians have paid to the government already in the form of taxes.
“I want Virginians’ money coming back to Virginia,” he said. “This is our money, and I want folks to have that care.”
The statement came as state lawmakers prepare to wrestle with language amendments submitted by Gov. Bob McDonnell to the Medicaid provision of the budget bill that could allow expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act if the state gets permission for major reforms in the public health program.
Critics, many of them conservative Republicans, have questioned whether the federal government would make good on its promise to cover the cost of expansion at 100 percent for the first three years and 90 percent in subsequent years.
Republican gubernatorial candidate and Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who has opposed expansion, issued a legal opinion Friday raising constitutional concerns over language that would empower a legislative commission to authorize expansion once reforms are met.
On Tuesday, the attorney general’s office reiterated its concerns over the constitutionality of the legislature establishing a committee to judge whether reforms to the program requested by the state as a condition for expansion have been met.
McAuliffe also expressed opposition to a McDonnell amendment that would bar coverage for abortion by insurers operating in the federal health exchange in Virginia.
The amendment would not only restrict government-subsidized plans from covering abortions, but would also effectively prohibit participants in the exchange from purchasing health plans with their own money that cover abortion services.
“I support a woman to make her decision,” McAuliffe said. “What I don’t want to see happen is a woman who, with her own money, wants to purchase her own health care, that we should stand in the way of that. I don’t think we should be doing that.”
The abortion amendment and the Medicaid expansion language are expected to dominate debate next week when lawmakers return to Richmond to consider McDonnell’s amendments to legislation passed in the recently concluded General Assembly session.