June 20, 2014

Stories like this do my heart good. If you listen closely, you can hear the wingnut heads exploding at the sheer audacity of helping poor people get medical care:

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) plans to move forward with Medicaid expansion even without lawmakers’ support, the governor announced on Friday.

The battle over Medicaid expansion has been particularly contentious in Virginia over the past several months, as McAuliffe been unable to convince the GOP-controlled legislature to move forward with implementing the policy even though it has bipartisan support in the state.

The governor announced his decision to expand Medicaid unilaterally during a press conference on Friday. He said he will use his executive power to expand Medicaid administratively, and asked the Secretary of Health and Human Resources to draw up plans for that project by the beginning of September. “I am moving forward,” he said, noting that lawmakers’ continued refusal to extend health care to an estimated 400,000 of the state’s poorest residents sends him “to bed every night with a pit in my stomach.”

He called the GOP’s decision to block Medicaid expansion “unconscionable.”

Earlier this week, the Richmond Times-Dispatch’s Jeff Schapiro laid out what an administrative expansion might look like. Essentially, McAuliffe could enlist private businesses to execute the public program, a so-called “public-private partnership.” It’s a method the state has used before to finance a highway.

Although the governor wasn’t explicit about the specifics of his plan, he did say that he’s been consulting with the attorney general every step of the way, and “whatever we do will be in full compliance with the attorney general’s office.”

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