STAUNTON, Va. (WHSV) -- Virginia Organizing and supporters held a vigil Thursday night, pushing to expand Medicaid; however, a few hours later in Richmond, their hopes might have been extinguished.
"The Medicaid issue is a dead issue at this point. They're not going to vote for it, they're not going to support it," said local political analyst Dr. David McQuilkin.
The House and the Senate both passed a budget, but it lacked the Medicaid expansion that Governor Terry McAuliffe wanted, but most Republicans opposed.
"I sincerely hope and actually believe that the Medicaid expansion is not dead," said Dave Rochford who attended Thursday's vigil. He says Medicaid should be a moral issue, not a political one. "These are people who are going without health care. That is simply unacceptable in the wealthiest society that the world has ever seen."
After State Senator Phil Puckett resigned, Republicans regained controlled the General Assembly and a budget amendment prevents Governor McAuliffe from expanding Medicaid through executive action.
"I think he was looking for something to use as a bargaining chip, and what the Republicans have done is they've taken it away from him," said McQuilkin.
McAuliffe released a statement in response to the budget bill, which said that he will, "evaluate it carefully," but did say the fight over Medicaid is far from over.