Democrats Hope New Delegates Improve Medicaid Expansion Odds

Jan 11, 2018

After years of pushing for expanding Medicaid, Democrats are hopeful that they’ll be able to use their new members in the House of Delegates to finally make it happen.

For freshman Delegate Wendy Gooditis, a Democrat from Clarke County, the fight for expanding Medicaid is personal. “I lost my brother to PTSD and alcoholism two weeks after I announced my candidacy, a 

Wendy Gooditis speaks to supporters during her campaign for the House of Delegates.
Credit (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

candidacy that came about in large part because of the last two years of my brother’s life,” Gooditis said during a news conference Thursday.

Now, Gooditis and her colleagues on the Democratic side of the aisle are hoping this could finally be the year to expand health insurance to 400,000 Virginians who live in poverty or with disabilities.

Republican leader Todd Gilbert acknowledges that he might not have the votes to prevent that from happening. “Well you never know with such a divided body like we have that’s so closely divided," Gilbert admitted. "Even people on our side of the aisle have not voted with us on that issue in the past.”

One compromise being considered: adding a work requirement for those receiving benefits.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.