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Gov. McAuliffe Brings Medicaid Discussion to Augusta Health - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Gov. McAuliffe Brings Medicaid Discussion to Augusta Health

Posted: Updated: Mar 01, 2014 08:50 PM
Augusta Health Augusta Health
AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va (WVIR) -

Medicaid expansion is at the heart of a heated debate brewing in the State Capitol. Saturday, Governor Terry McAuliffe moved that discussion to Augusta Health in Fishersville.

He found supporters in healthcare there. But just a few blocks away, opponents from Richmond rallied against the governor's Medicaid demands.

“We're trying to keep this partisan political debate out of it because to me that's not what this is about,” McAuliffe said.

McAuliffe visited Augusta Health to stress the importance of closing the Medicaid coverage gap.

“Let's bring Virginia taxpayer dollars back to Virginia,” he said. “Let's close that coverage gap - provide coverage for the 400,000 Virginians and along the way build and diversify this economy. It is the right thing to do.”

McAuliffe took part in a roundtable discussion focusing on expanding Medicaid, followed by a short tour of the hospital facility. The governor says closing the gap will save the state more than a billion dollars by 2022.

“It's important to meet with the folks who are actually impacted every single day by closing the coverage gap,” McAuliffe said.

But opponents, including three Shenandoah Valley delegates, gathered just down the road in Fishersville at the same time to respond to the governor's visit.

“He's trying to grand stand and politic everywhere, but he needs to be, which is back in Richmond, getting a balanced budget, paying our teachers, paying our deputies and getting us home and getting Virginia continued on the right track to prosperity,” said Delegate Ben Cline of the 24th District.

The Republican lawmakers say Medicaid expansion is not sustainable or affordable for Virginia.

“I'm hoping the citizens will contact the governor and let him know they want a clean budget,” says 25th District Delegate Steve Landes. “They want those services that the budget provides and they want them not held up because of political posturing and traveling around the state.”

The regular session of the 2014 General Assembly is scheduled to wrap up March 8, but without a budget deal lawmakers could have more work ahead.

McAuliffe told NBC29 he believes lawmakers won't meet that deadline and will head into a special session. Opponents say they are working to get this budget done on time.

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