Possibility of Gov Bypassing Legislature on Medicaid Expansion C - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Possibility of Gov Bypassing Legislature on Medicaid Expansion Could be Messy

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If state lawmakers can't agree on expanding Medicaid health coverage, some say Governor Terry McAuliffe should use executive power to do it himself. According to the Washington Post, McAuliffe is looking into it, but experts say it could be a political nightmare.

In many ways, we're already in the middle of a political nightmare but if McAuliffe bypasses the legislature and uses executive action to expand Medicaid, things could get a whole lot nastier.

Celebrating his 100th day in office in April, McAuliffe made clear he’s not backing down in his fight for Medicaid expansion.

“It is not only morally the right thing to do, it is financially the right thing to do,” McAuliffe said.

But weeks later, there is still no solution. Republicans and Democrats are still at odds on expansion, and that's holding up progress on the state budget. But McAuliffe could be looking for another solution.

“If he wants to accomplish this, this may be the only way for him to be able do it, it just has consequences,” said Geoff Skelley, political analyst with the University of Virginia Center for Politics.

According to the Washington Post, the governor is exploring the thought of using executive action to expand Medicaid. But amid growing gridlock, political analysts say that could create an even more toxic political environment in Richmond.

“He's going to create enemies by doing this. They may be even less likely to cooperate on other issues, and they're probably going to challenge it at every turn,” Skelley said.

And that could include legal challenges, if McAuliffe goes that route. House Republicans said in a statement Friday: "We do not believe the Governor has the authority to do that. The law is very clear. However, it's also clear from the actions of the Attorney General that this administration has very little regard for the law."

The governor's office would not comment on rumors of possible executive action, but press secretary Brian Coy did say: "the governor remains confident that House Republicans will come to the table and compromise, and believes a legislative solution is the best solution."

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