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Cuccinelli says he’d block health reform

RICHMOND—Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli said if elected, he’d try to stop the federal health care law from being implemented in Virginia.

Cuccinelli, at a luncheon fundraiser for his campaign headlined by Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, got applause from the crowd of about 500 supporters when he said he filed one of the first lawsuits against the Affordable Care Act.

The health insurance marketplaces created by the act open in just a couple of weeks, on Oct. 1.

“That lawsuit was about liberty, not health care,” Cuccinelli said.

His Democratic rival, Terry McAuliffe, supports the ACA and has said he wants Virginia to expand its Medicaid eligibility, a facet of the law that’s opposed by Cuccinelli and many other Republicans, who doubt the federal government will live up to promises to pay for the bulk of that expansion.

This weekend a comment by McAuliffe—that he’d refuse to sign a Virginia budget without Medicaid expansion in it—made news, with Republicans pointing to it as evidence that McAuliffe is not the bipartisan bridge-builder he claims he is, and that he’d bring “Washington-style” politics to Richmond.

“He is prepared to shut down Virginia government to [expand] that welfare program,” Cuccinelli said at the fundraiser. “As governor I’ll stop as much of that as I possibly can That is a big contrast.”

Rubio, considered a potential 2016 presidential candidate, also criticized the health care law as one factor limiting economic growth, but focused his talk more on what he described as a loss of hope.

He said people no longer believe that if you work hard you can overcome poor circumstances, a belief he said drives the idea of American exceptionalism.

“The American dream itself is at stake,” Rubio said. “Without the American dream, we’re just a rich, powerful country, but not a special one This is a race that allows us to make a statement to the country that Americans are not going to walk away from the American dream.”

Chelyen Davis: 540/368-5028