In a letter (pdf) to United States Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, Gov. Bob McDonnell made clear that Medicaid expansion was not what the General Assembly enacted. From his press release:
The recently passed budget of Virginia contains language outlining a series of reforms that must be completed to the satisfaction of a new legislative commission prior to consideration of Medicaid expansion. Some media outlets and elected officials have labeled this as approving Medicaid expansion in Virginia. This is absolutely incorrect.
The language of the budget actually places a firewall against expansion consideration, unless real, sustainable cost saving reforms are implemented at the state and federal level. Members of the commission have already been appointed by the House of Delegates, and several have already expressed deep concern about expansion.
Thus, please do not include Virginia on any list of states that have acted to expand Medicaid, as that would be inaccurate.
Don’t be acting all surprised now, folks. The language, while not available to us ordinary people until after it had passed, was available to those voting on it. And if I, a layman, could piece it together, surely the lawmakers could.
As I tell my students, reading is fundamental.