Sen. Emmett Hanger remains hopeful that a Medicaid expansion compromise he has brokered with a House of Delegates leader, will ultimately pass the General Assembly and become part of the new Virginia budget.
Senate Republican leaders refused on Tuesday to consider a proposed budget agreement that would expand Virginia’s Medicaid program, instead using a procedural maneuver to delay consideration by the chamber’s Finance Committee for another week.
The decision to adjourn the Finance Committee until next Tuesday prompted outraged jeers from spectators in the Senate gallery. It also sparked a bitter debate between Democrats who are frustrated by six weeks of delays since the General Assembly convened a special session on the budget and Republicans who are determined to block Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act.
It seemed likely Tuesday that the Virginia Senate would make some movement on the budget and potentially approve a form of Medicaid expansion, readying it for the House of Delegates the next day.
But after meeting briefly, the Senate made a couple of unusual moves to push budget talks back another week, drawing frustration from Democratic senators, delegates and Gov. Ralph Northam.
The stage is set for a showdown in the Virginia Senate on Tuesday over a budget compromise negotiated by Senate Finance Co-Chairman Emmett Hanger, R-Augusta, and House Appropriations Chairman Chris Jones, R-Suffolk, to expand the state’s Medicaid program and pay for the state’s share through a new tax on hospital revenues that also would boost Medicaid payments for inpatient provider care.
The proposal, hammered out over almost a week of negotiations between Hanger and Jones, also would bank an expected $500 million revenue windfall to boost Virginia’s reserve funds to almost $1 billion.
Top Republican lawmakers in Virginia unveiled a new budget proposal Monday that will expand Medicaid, give state workers raises and boost the state’s rainy-day fund.
Sen. Emmett Hanger and Del. Chris Jones said they’d hammered out a compromise spending plan they hope will have the support of a majority in both chambers of the General Assembly.
A key senator who wants to expand Medicaid but has voiced reservations reached a compromise with a top Suffolk Republican delegate on Monday, potentially paving the way for a budget deal that includes Medicaid expansion.
State Sen. Emmett Hanger, R-Mount Solon, could get the votes necessary to pass a budget out of the Senate with a form of Medicaid expansion. However, a plan must go through the Senate’s Republican-controlled finance committee first, where he is not likely to find enough support.
The Senate has a date to return to the Capitol to act on a state budget. Now, it just needs to come up with a budget it’s willing to adopt.
Almost four weeks after the House of Delegates approved two budgets that expand Virginia’s Medicaid program — one for the fiscal year that ends June 30 and the other for the biennium that begins July 1 — the Senate reconvened in special session on Monday and referred the bills to its Finance Committee for consideration.
Virginia could end the fiscal year with an extra $400 million from a continuing surge in income tax payments in the aftermath of federal tax reforms, but finance officials aren’t ready to bank on a windfall they fear could disappear by autumn.
Nearly four years ago, three of Virginia’s private nonprofit health systems proposed to tax themselves to help pay for hospital indigent care and medical education.
The idea — which the Sentara, Inova and Carilion health systems presented in late 2014 — was to impose an assessment on their hospital revenues that would serve as matching funds to gain an equal amount of federal Medicaid money — or supplemental payments — to subsidize their costs for uncompensated health care and medical education.
Three weeks after the House of Delegates adopted a new pair of state budgets, House Republican leaders want to know exactly when the Senate plans to act on its own spending plans so the two bodies can begin resolving their differences as the state nears the end of its fiscal year.