Sometimes politicians can be surprisingly frank and candid. Delegate Sam Rasoul (D-Roanoke) was so a few weeks back. Explaining why Governor Terry McAuliffe and General Assembly Democrats (particularly in the Democrat controlled Senate) are so hard wired to expand Obamacare in Virginia, he said:
Ahhh. The truth be told! There's more, too. There may not be any way to stop the governor from expanding the program unilaterally. The Obamacare Medicaid expansion money is federal money, for the first two years, anyway. Although a 2013 law appears to have taken away executive power to take federal money, Governor McAuliffe may, per his reputation. strong arm it through regardless and dare the legislature to stop him. The courts may not want to intervene in a process question.
In fact, some rumors are circulating that Republicans, who have stood firm in their opposition to block the expansion into the state budget, would welcome the unilateral action because it would take them off the hook without facing opposition from their base . . . and boy, wouldn't they love all that "free money." Just speculation, though.
State law clearly defines the budget, also known as the Appropriations Bill, as the appropriation of state generated money, which federal grants clearly are not. However, after two years, the federal contribution would decline and the state would assume some responsibility, therefore an excuse for sticking it into the budget.
Bur the real reasons Obamacare expansion proponents want Medicaid expansion in the budget now are, to a certain extent, so the governor won't have to take the political heat for the unpopular program and, to a larger extent, to make it a perpetual program. Do you know of any redistribution program that's ever been phased out once it's in the pipeline? Especially ones that bloat the budget by billions? (Funny how Assembly liberals aren't crying about the inevitable diversion of funds from education and "the children" as they inevitably cry whenever a budget reform is offered, because something will have to be cut to pay for Obamacare expansion down the road).
The brinkmanship of the looming, and unprecedented state government shutdown, that Delegate Rasoul refers to as "leverage" is only the means. Get it in now so it becomes permanent later. Truth be told.