Friday, April 13, 2018

House of Delegates Continues Pursuit of Medicaid Expansion

This morning the House of Delegates took the first steps in the new budget battle. The House Appropriations Committee took up HB5001 and HB5002 which are Governor Northam's proposed budget bills (HB5001 is the Caboose budget to wrap up FY2018, HB5002 is the Biennial Budget).

The House Appropriations Committee voted 16-5 to report the budget bill with amendments. The important thing here is that the House has reported a budget bill that includes Medicaid expansion. That means we will see a floor vote in the House next week on their budget with a likely outcome that they will forward the Senate a budget with Medicaid expansion. Interestingly three members of the House Appropriations Committee changed their vote from the Medicaid expansion budget bill they considered in Committee during regular session. None of these flips ended up voting in favor of the budget on the floor, so these aren't lost votes, but still interesting in an otherwise uninteresting committee meeting.

Delegates Landes, Robinson, and Rush voted IN FAVOR of the House budget during session but against the new budget. All three were no votes on the final vote on the floor, so they clearly do not support Medicaid expansion. In the land of wonder and intrigue where my brain, sadly, goes during session, I am guessing they got some heat from their constituents on their inconsistency of position on expansion. I also think that there may have been some effort by at least one of these members to try to fence sit and appeal to both sides of the Medicaid fight with their split vote last time. Who knows. Regardless the House will, once again, consider a budget that expands Medicaid and INVESTS in VA!

Here is the vote from today's House Appropriations Committee. A "YES" vote was to expand Medicaid:
YEAS--Jones, S.C., Ingram, Peace, Knight, Garrett, Stolle, Pillion, Torian, Sickles, James, Carr, McQuinn, Aird, Tyler, Krizek, Bell, John J.--16.
NAYS--Landes, Poindexter, Rush, Robinson, Head--5.
NOT VOTING--Hayes--1.