Budget deal likely Friday if Medicaid is resolved

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 21, 2013 at 9:57 pm •  Published: February 21, 2013
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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A new compromise on Virginia's budget will have to wait for Friday morning.

House and Senate budget negotiators neared agreement Thursday night on revisions for the second year of the $88 billion biennial spending blueprint for state government. But differences over the pace of expanding Medicaid under the federal health care reform law complicated talks.

The Senate favors expanding Medicaid to an additional 400,000 uninsured Virginians just over the poverty level provided the state finds substantial savings and reforms and Washington agrees to them. The House prefers deferring the expansion later.

Six negotiators each from the House and Senate continued talks late Thursday night despite a letter from Gov. Bob McDonnell Wednesday admonishing lawmakers not to expand Medicaid until major reforms are achieved at the state and federal levels.