Blacksburg, VA - Just days after Governor McAuliffe signed a proclamation ordering a special session of the General Assembly, he is now making his way across Virginia to find out from medical professionals their take on Medicaid expansion.
The special session, which begins March 24th, will try to tackle that unfinished business, plus pass the state budget.
Until then Governor McAuliffe is taking his message on the road in the two weeks he has until the special session.
"I want every Virginian to understand that if we don't bring this money home, hospitals will close," said McAuliffe.
Some of those listening in Blacksburg included the upper management of LewisGale Regional Health System,and its President, Jon Bartlett.
"This is not just a financial issue for us. We also strongly believe this is for the good of the Commonwealth. It's a healthy workforce. It's making sure we are attracting businesses and it's frankly an economic development issue that we must pay attention to..," said Bartlett.
Economics aside, Virginia hospitals face a two pronged problem.
The federal government cut back on funding states for indigent care, based on the expectation that those people would be covered by medicaid expansion.
Without the expansion, that means no money to cover indigent expenses.
How much are we talking?
According to Senator John Edwards's office, the combined total, across the Commonwealth, for 2015 would be $251 million with another $306 million lost in 2016.
That's on top of more than $25 billion expansion is expected to recoup from the federal government over eight years.
"These 400,000 Virginians have waited long enough. Stop the stalling tactics. Let's help them. That's our responsibility as elected officials," said McAuliffe.
All of this going on as Medicaid and Medicare dollars have been shrinking for several years, creating a massive coverage gap.
To this date the Governor says more than $350 million, of Virginia taxpayer money, has already been forfeited.