- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 19, 2014

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - There’s still no sign of any compromise between Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Republican leaders in the House of Delegates over whether Virginia should accept federal Medicaid funds in order to expand health insurance coverage to as many as 400,000 low-income residents.

McAuliffe, who wants to expand Medicaid eligibility, and House Republican leaders, who don’t, said Wednesday that there had been no movement on the issue after meeting to discuss an upcoming special legislative session.

“I don’t think the leadership has changed their mind,” said McAuliffe. “I didn’t get that feeling coming out of the meeting.”

House Majority Leader Kirk Cox expressed a similar view when asked if he thought the governor’s position had changed.

“It was very cordial, but no,” Cox said.

The special session is set to start Monday.

The impasse over Medicaid expansion led the General Assembly to adjourn earlier this month without passing a roughly $96 billion biannual budget. The state’s fiscal year begins on July 1.

McAuliffe has argued that the state cannot afford to forgo the $5 million a day in federal funds attached to expanded eligibility. He’s been touring hospitals and free health clinics around the state to highlight the need for the extra funding.

House Republicans have steadfastly opposed expanding Medicaid eligibility. They have argued that the current Medicaid program should be reformed before any large-scale expansion is considered.

House Republicans have also pressed McAuliffe to allow a state budget to pass without Medicaid expansion and then debate the issue later at a special session. The governor has rejected that suggestion but says he’s hopeful a compromise can be reached quickly.

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