VIRGINIA BEACH -- Governor Terry McAuliffe reacted Monday to a recent Washington Post article claiming he would expand Medicaid without approval of the state legislature.

Republicans have rejected overtures to expand Medicaid, saying it needs reform.

McAuliffe says the state can't afford to lose $2.1 billion a year in federal funds by not expanding the program under the federal Affordable Care Act. At a speech to the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce on April 1, he warned Virginia could lose as much as $20 million in taxes over the next eight years.

'We have already given away $620 million to Washington since January 1. I can't get that money back,' Gov. McAuliffe said.

The money would have been given to Virginia residents and hospitals for expanding Medicaid had the state approved the federal ACA plan.

13News Now asked the governor Monday if he would bypass the legislature, as indicated in the Washington Post article. McAuliffe did not confirm whether the report was true and said he is optimistic the legislature will 'do the right thing' in the next 60 days.

McAuliffe explores whether he can expand Medicaid coverage without legislature's okay

According to a poll recently released by the Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University, most Virginia voters oppose Medicaid expansion but want lawmakers to find a compromise.

Poll: Virginians want compromise on Medicaid expansion

The current state budget expires July 1.

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