Next week, the General Assembly will reconvene in a special session to address the problem created by Gov. McAuliffe and Democrat legislators who have refused to endorse a budget without a provision to expand Medicaid under Obamacare.
As I have previously written, this is a regrettable and unnecessary occasion for our commonwealth. It is, however, a significant circumstance which concerns all of us who depend upon the responsible administration of government in Virginia.
To be absolutely clear, by his insistence on increasing this government entitlement through the budget, despite the absence of enacting legislation, the governor is threatening the shutdown of essential government services.
This effort to coerce his will over that of the overwhelming majority of the people’s representatives is an improper use of the executive power. These tactics do not reflect Virginia values of good government and fiscal responsibility.
Rather, Gov. McAuliffe is employing the negative approaches more commonly observed in the unfortunate disputes of Washington, D.C.
In reflecting upon this unhappy ordeal, it is useful to consider how we arrived at this point.
Nearly four years ago, Obamacare was signed into law by the President after being passed by a lame-duck Congress on a strictly partisan vote against the clear will of a majority of the American people.
At that time, a provision of the law required each state to expand the federal Medicaid program under their respective budgets.
On June 28, 2012, the United States Supreme Court struck this provision of Obamacare as an unconstitutional violation of our system of state sovereignty and separation of powers.
While other portions of the federal act remain, the question of whether a particular state chooses to expand Medicaid is left to the will of the legislative bodies of the states.
Thus far, 25 states, mainly from the Northeast and West Coast, have chosen to expand Medicaid under Obamacare.
No such legislation has passed in Virginia. Nevertheless, Gov. McAuliffe, in conjunction with the slim majority of Democrats in the Senate, prevented the General Assembly from passing a budget on time even with a 99.9 percent agreement between the proposed bottom lines of the House and Senate.
This political gamesmanship also betrays prior efforts to responsibly address the expansion debate.
It has been brought to my attention that last year, both Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate agreed to take this controversy out of the budget process.
Toward this end, the bipartisan Medicaid Innovation and Reform Commission was specifically created to reform Medicaid prior to any consideration of expansion.
The work of that commission should not be abandoned in a rush to impose Medicaid expansion in Virginia as Obamacare was imposed on the American republic.
I recognize that this is my first year of service in the House of Delegates, and I am certain that I have much yet to learn.
Nevertheless, I remain confident in my belief that threatening the essential functions of state government, in an effort to overcome the will of the people reflected in the normal legislative process, is an irresponsible approach to governing.
Thank you for your support and please know that in returning to Richmond I will continue to represent Southside Virginia in a fiscally responsible manner.
Del. Les Adams of Chatham represents the 16th District, which includes most of Pittsylvania County and Martinsville and part of Henry County.