March 3, 2014
Governor Terry McAuliffe is hoping to change Virginia's tradition of resistance to public aid for the poor, with a large scale Medicaid expansion.
For several decades, regardless of which party has been in power and despite the state's overall affluence, the default setting in Virginia politics has been skepticism toward public assistance.
The Commonwealth ranked 48th in state Medicaid spending per capita, according to a report from a state agency last year.
Now, Gov. McAuliffe and his supporters hope billions of dollars in federal assistance will help change people's minds.
The Democratically controlled Senate and GOP-controlled house are currently locked in debate over expanding Medicaid eligibility.
Republicans argue that a smaller safety net helps ensure the most needy are cared for.