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Virginia has history of opposition to public aid

Monday - 3/3/2014, 1:08pm  ET


RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe is hoping to upend Virginia's long tradition of resistance to public aid for the poor with a large scale expansion of Medicaid eligibility.

For several decades, regardless of which party has been in power and despite the commonwealth's overall affluence, the default setting in Virginia politics has been a skepticism toward public assistance.

The commonwealth ranked 48th in state Medicaid spending per capita, according to a report from a state agency last year.

Now McAuliffe and his supporters are hoping that billions of dollars in federal assistance will help change minds.

The Democratically controlled Senate and GOP-controlled House are currently locked in debate over expanding Medicaid eligibility.

Republicans argue that a smaller safety net helps ensure the most needy are cared for.

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