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Key Virginia Republican Shows Support for Medicaid Expansion

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Frank Wagner (Photo courtesy www.wagnervasenate.com ) Frank Wagner (Photo courtesy www.wagnervasenate.com )

By ALAN SUDERMAN
Associated Press

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A key Virginia Republican has signaled support for Medicaid expansion, a move that gives pro-expansion lawmakers a majority in both chambers of the General Assembly.

Virginia Beach Sen. Frank Wagner said in a statement Friday that he favors expanding Medicaid, enacting a new tax on hospitals, and using part of the extra money raised to give tax credits to lower income Virginians.

Wagner has previously voted against Medicaid expansion and his new support could end a deadlock over the state budget. Lawmakers have been unable to pass a spending plan because of Republican infighting over whether it should include Medicaid expansion.

But it's not immediately clear if Wagner's proposal will find broad support. The only other Republican senator who supports expansion, Sen. Emmett Hanger, opposes the proposed hospital tax.

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