Republican lawmakers in Virginia rejected another bid to expand Medicaid, saying the cost of providing new health coverage to thousands of poor adults would cripple the state.
The House of Delegates voted against Medicaid expansion Wednesday as lawmakers reconvened for a one-day session to consider Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s amendments and vetoes.
While many of McAuliffe’s proposed amendments were rejected, Republicans were unable to overturn any of the governor’s vetoes.
After President Donald Trump’s attempt to overhaul health care last month failed, McAuliffe renewed his longstanding push for Medicaid expansion and proposed a budget amendment that would give him the power to do so. The governor said Republicans had run out of reasons to block Medicaid expansion.
Thirty-one states have expanded their Medicaid programs under the Affordable Care Act, including some with Republican governors.
But Virginia Republicans have held firm against expansion. They said the state’s current Medicaid program is already growing at an unsustainable rate and expanding it would be fiscally irresponsible, even with the federal government covering most of the expansion costs.
McAuliffe said he was disappointed with the vote.
“While Republicans continue to play politics with the health of our residents, we will continue to investigate every available option to expand Medicaid in Virginia,” he said in a statement.