The outgoing governor of Virginia is working to extend health benefits to the same-sex partners of state employees, but questions linger over whether his successor will accept the changes.
Last week, Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine (D) directed his office to start drafting the regulations that would be required for the rule change, but he has only a few weeks left in office and, according to the Washington Post, the rules won’t be ready for implementation for another 18 months. The decision on whether or not to enact the changes will be left to Republican Gov.-elect Bob McDonnell.
Kaine spokesperson Lynda Tran was quoted in the Virginian-Pilot as saying the benefits won’t bring any new costs to the state because the employee would take on any expenses associated with adding a person to the insurance rolls.
The new policy would apply not only to state workers with same-sex partners, but also employees seeking to cover other individuals in their households, including opposite-sex partners and adult children.
McDonnell’s transition team didn’t respond to DC Agenda’s request for comment. At a press conference last week, the governor-elect expressed concerns about what new costs the regulations would bring.
“My first question is, what [is] the cost to the state by expanding those policies?” McDonnell said, according to the Washington Post. “I am all for using business — public and private — to expand health-care coverage. … But what I don’t know is, what is the cost that has to be borne by the state government versus the individual new subscriber?”