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Va Senate Dems: Health care special session needed

Associated Press Modified: November 20, 2012 at 2:15 pm •  Published: November 20, 2012

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Democratic leaders in the Virginia Senate on Tuesday once again urged Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell to call a special session to discuss how the state will address the federal health care overhaul.

States face a Dec. 14 deadline to decide whether to set up their own exchange for people to shop for private health insurance policies or allow the federal government to run them.

In a news release, Senate Democratic leader Richard L. Saslaw of Fairfax and Senate Democratic Caucus Chairman Don McEachin of Henrico County said McDonnell should call lawmakers back into session to create a state-based health insurance program.

While the governor said Virginia would default to the federal exchange option, the state could change course at a later date.

McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin said a special session would be costly to taxpayers and there are no decisions that need to be made between now and the regular start of the session in January. He called Tuesday's move by the Senate Democrats "unfortunate theatrics."

"We are just weeks away from the start of the regular General Assembly session, during which the issue of health care exchanges will be addressed," Martin said. "More importantly, the states are still awaiting critical additional guidance and regulations from the federal government about the financing and implementation of health exchanges, and we are hopeful that we will have that in the next month."

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