As the June 30th deadline approaches, Virginia lawmakers are back in Richmond to finalize the state budget. A month ago, The House of Delegates passed a budget that includes Medicaid expansion. Now the Senate is taking its turn - although it’s unclear if their opposition to Medicaid expansion has waned.
Members of the Senate Finance committee met Monday. Many seemed to be wrapping their heads around the possibility of Medicaid expansion. But Norment began the meeting with a warning not to read too much into senators’ questions.
“While there are a number of us that under no circumstances will vote for Medicaid expansion that does not mean that we are going to stand on the sidelines,” Norment said. “That should not be telegraphed and do not speculate that anyone is flipping their position or weakening.”
For weeks, a dedicated group of Medicaid supporters have kept vigil outside Norment’s Williamsburg office. The Republican leader in the Senate has stood firmly against expanding the state-run health insurance program.
Marilyn Karp says activists like her will continue to put pressure on Norment and other Senate Republicans, until they act.
“We’re quite put off, to say it politely, that they have done absolutely nothing,” Karp said during a rally at the capitol Monday.
The Senate Finance committee will continue to meet this week, delving into more discussions on Medicaid. The full Senate won’t convene again until early next week.