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Republicans, Democrats Remain at Odds over Medicaid Expansion - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Republicans, Democrats Remain at Odds over Medicaid Expansion

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There is more finger-pointing in Richmond Tuesday, as lawmakers quarrel over healthcare expansion in the state budget. Both parties are accusing the other of holding up the budget process with "Washington-style" politics - and both have very different solutions.

House Republicans say Democrats are "holding the budget hostage" to get what they want - Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act. They want to take the Medicaid discussion out of the budget process, and debate it later in a special session. Republicans say that will let them pass a budget on time, which will help localities and schools plan their budgets for the coming fiscal year.

Democrats say this is just another stalling tactic from the GOP, which has long opposed expanding health coverage under the Affordable Care Act to hundreds of thousands of low-income Virginians. They want to address the issue now, but say Republicans are the ones avoiding compromise.

“In terms of a strategy for delay it's a great strategy. You get a budget, you have a special session, it doesn't get you anything except spend taxpayer dollars,” said 57th District Delegate David Toscano (D).

“We feel very strongly that if the Senate will seriously negotiate with us, with Medicaid expansion out of the budget, we would easily wrap this up,” said 66th District Delegate Kick Cox (R).

The 2014 regular session is scheduled to adjourn this Saturday - March 8 - but lawmakers say they might be forced to stick around a while longer until a deal is found.

Lawmakers say it has been at least 10 years - the middle of the Warner administration - since a disagreement this big threatened to delay the budget. They have four days to strike a compromise, and avoid similar delays.

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