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Elections have consequences (Virginia edition)

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Virginia Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam, Democratic candidate for governor, delivers remarks before introducing former U.S. President Barack Obama to speak at a rally with supporters in Richmond, Virginia, U.S. October 19, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst – RC15BBE6BE50

In Virginia, Northam and co are apparently close to a deal that would give 400,000 access to health care through Medicaid expansion:

Virginia state Sen. Frank Wagner (Virginia Beach) said he supports allowing more poor people to enroll in the federal-state healthcare program on two conditions.

He wants the plan structured so that Medicaid recipients do not suddenly lose coverage if their earnings rise. And he wants a tax credit or some other help for middle-income people who already have insurance but are struggling to pay soaring premiums and co-pays.

While those details remain to be worked out, Wagner’s position could break a standoff over Medicaid and the state budget in Virginia’s General Assembly, averting a government shutdown and handing an enormous win to Gov. Ralph Northam (D) just three months into his term. The legislature convenes Wednesday for a special session on the budget.

His conditions seem….not just reasonable, but maybe even good ideas? Who is this guy? The other pro-expansion Republican wants some kind of tax cut for hospitals, so they’ll need to figure that out, but this is very promising. The timing certainly seems like a bit of an FU to Republican leadership:

Wagner said he would support Medicaid expansion one day after members of the Senate’s Republican leadership team declared they still had the votes to block passage.

“We are 21 strong,” Senate Majority Whip William Stanley (R-Franklin) said on a conference call organized by Americans for Prosperity, the conservative powerhouse opposed to expansion.

A reminder of why we’re so close to begin with:

Opposition in the House softened after Democrats -who ran on a promise to expand Medicaid – picked up 15 seats in November elections, nearly taking control of the chamber in an anti-Trump wave. During the 60-day legislative session that began in January, 19 House Republicans voted to expand Medicaid, apparently concluding they have more to fear from energized Democrats and independents than from potential primary challengers on the right.

If you’re in Virginia and respresented by a Republican Senator, today would be a good day for a polite but firm call. An extra vote or two couldn’t hurt as they try to hammer out the details. Jill Vogel of the 27th district is said to be on the fence. Topher Spiro has the numbers.

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