The Virginia General Assembly convened Monday as part of the ongoing special session to complete work on the state budget. In addition, the House of Delegates passed for the second time this year legislation that could help Virginians keep insurance plans cancelled because of Obamacare.
Balancing the State Budget
Earlier this year, the General Assembly adopted a responsible state budget after a six-month standoff with Governor McAuliffe over Medicaid expansion. Thanks to the Republican-led House of Delegates, Virginia has stopped Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion.
After that budget was passed, we learned the Commonwealth faced a larger-than-expected revenue shortfall totaling $2.4 billion. The shortfall was largely the result of President Obama’s tax increases and the dangerous across-the-board spending cuts known as sequestration.
In order to protect Virginia’s prestigious “Triple A” bond rating and provide certainty to local governments in these tough economic times, the General Assembly reconvened this fall to address the revenue shortfall.
That work culminated in yesterday’s session. The General Assembly sent a balanced budget to the Governor’s desk that closes the revenue shortfall by responsibly utilizing our rainy day fund and cutting spending. Most importantly, the budget does not raise taxes or fees on hardworking Virginians.
Protecting Transportation Funding
I was proud to champion the historic transportation funding and reform plan passed in 2013. This legislation generated much-needed funding for roads and highways across the Commonwealth. Because of this bill, dozens of transportation projects across our region are now moving forward.
A key part of the transportation compromise was a promise that all new revenue would be used for transportation. The budget bill passed by the General Assembly Monday fully funds transportation in accordance with the provisions of last year’s transportation plan.
Letting you keep your plan
In addition to taking action on the state budget, the General Assembly passed important legislation Monday that may help Virginians keep insurance plans cancelled under the Affordable Care Act. News reports indicate that up to as many as 250,000 Virginia insurance policies may be cancelled because of Obamacare.
This is the second time this year that the House of Delegates passed a “keep your plan” bill. In February, the Democrat-controlled Senate killed Republican-sponsored legislation.
The House of Delegates acted again Monday to give insurance companies the authority to continue to offer plans cancelled by the Affordable Care Act. Unfortunately, because Democrats did not act earlier this year, not all insurance companies will be able to comply with this law by January 1. However, this legislation ensures they have the opportunity to do so, and I hope they will offer customers the chance to renew their plans.