By Stephen J. Farnsworth
Opinion Column, Washington Post
January 18, 2015
Get ready for the Virginia version of the hit film “Groundhog Day.” In the coming weeks, Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) again will try mightily to persuade members of the General Assembly to support Medicaid expansion. They will almost certainly refuse, just as they did in 2014.
There isn’t much the governor can do differently. He tried just about everything imaginable last time to bring coverage to the estimated 400,000 Virginians who would qualify for the Medicaid expansion plan. McAuliffe barnstormed the state, building alliances with Republican-leaning business groups and hospital administrators. He engaged in an aggressive “charm offensive” with legislators, complete with premium booze at Executive Mansion receptions. He held news conferences in community after community, begging GOP lawmakers to negotiate. In desperation, the governor even tried brinkmanship, via a threatened Washington-style government shutdown.
Despite these efforts, the Republican majorities did not budge. No expansion, no compromise, no way.