Some Virginia policy analysts say after months of stalling and keeping constituents on the edge of their seats, the General Assembly still blundered by passing a budget without Medicaid expansion.
Groups that include Virginia Organizing, Progress Virginia, and the Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis say that not only has the budget left hundreds of thousands of Virginians without affordable healthcare options—but residents are left with a gaping budgetary hole that needs to be filled.
The Commonwealth Institute’s Michael Cassidy believes Virginians have been socked in the gut three times with this budget deal. He says for starters, they're already paying all the taxes associated with the Affordable Care Act. Then lawmakers refused expansion of Medicaid coverage for low-income families.
Cassidy says since this is a two-year budget, lawmakers get another bite at the apple if they later decide to expand Medicaid with federal funds. He says they could then make revisions to the second year of the budget and use those savings to mitigate the cuts that Virginians are facing.
Lawmakers say if the budget is signed into law by June 30th, the state would be able to use the Rainy Day Fund to cover the rest of the shortfall without more cuts.