Skip to comments.Sleeper issue that could help Dems in 2014: Midterms starting to look a lot less favorable to GOP
Posted on 01/23/2014 12:36:12 AM PST by 2ndDivisionVet
The GOP has made opposition to ObamaCare a central pillar of its 2014 campaign strategy. And even though the health care law has begun to turn around, that may not be such a bad idea given lingering public skepticism over the law.
However, there is one crucial piece of ObamaCare that may well become a big winner for Democrats by the end of the year: The dramatic expansion of Medicaid.
Unlike the overall law, the expansion of Medicaid is actually quite popular with voters of all political stripes. Even in the Deep South, more than six in ten support expanding Medicaid, according to one survey last year; conservatives split almost evenly on the issue.
This presents the GOP with two interconnected problems.
First, it undermines part of the party's "repeal" crusade, since nixing ObamaCare would mean ending a popular policy that has already extended benefits to millions of Americans, many of them previously uninsured.
In red West Virginia, some 75,000 people have already enrolled in Medicaid, far higher than expected, according to The New York Times. As a result, the number of uninsured people in the state has plummeted by about a third.
From the Times:
Waitresses, fast food workers, security guards, and cleaners described feeling intense relief that they are now protected from the punishing medical bills that have punched holes in their family budgets. They spoke in interviews of reclaiming the dignity they had lost over years of being turned away from doctors' offices because they did not have insurance. [New York Times]
That's a perfect 2014 Democratic ad campaign right there: People are happy now that they're covered by Medicaid, and Republicans want to take it away.
Though voters are generally leery of ObamaCare as a whole, they like the Medicaid expansion because they support the idea of extending coverage to the needy. As the Washington Post's Greg Sargent notes, this gives Democratic candidates in red states some wiggle room.
They are not embracing ObamaCare. But they oppose repeal, and they are standing behind the general goal of expanding coverage to those who can't afford it. This is true of Michelle Nunn in Georgia (where 57 percent support the Medicaid expansion) and Alison Lundergan Grimes in Kentucky, who wants the law fixed and supports making coverage available to hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians, rather than throwing "the baby out with the bathwater."
None of these Dems were in Congress to vote for ObamaCare, so they are free not to embrace the law overall while supporting a part that's providing more and more coverage and security to people who lacked it. [Washington Post]
On another level, the GOP may have shot itself in the foot by broadly opposing Medicaid expansion at the state level from the get-go.
Thanks to a Supreme Court ruling, states are able to opt out of the Medicaid expansion. So even though the federal government will cover 100 percent of the added costs for the next three years, and 90 percent of the costs after that, 24 mostly GOP-controlled states have decided not to participate.
Virginia, under then-Gov. Bob McDonnell (R), is one of the states that opted out. However, McDonnell's would-be GOP successor, Ken Cuccinelli, lost last November's gubernatorial election after vowing to continue that policy. While Cuccinelli was a uniquely terrible candidate who lost for a host of reasons, it's likely that his position on Medicaid played a role, too. A recent Roanoke poll of Virginia voters shows that only one-quarter think Medicaid should not be expanded.
The refusal of some states to expand Medicaid has left an estimated eight million people with no access to affordable health care, all of whom would otherwise have been eligible under the program. Republicans have almost gone out of their way in fulfilling the Democrats' caricature of the GOP as a heartless "party of no."
Perhaps it's no surprise, then, that several GOP-led states are already beginning to reconsider accepting the expansion after all.
If Republicans continue to staunchly oppose the Medicaid expansion on principle, they'll be rejecting a widely popular policy and effectively advocating to push people off their new health care coverage. As we saw last year with Obama's broken "you can keep it" promise, stripping people of their existing health insurance doesn't go over so well.
And even though the health care law has begun to turn around...The beginning of the second sentence undermines the author's cognitive abilities.
Bingo..great catch...IMHO, if anything, it’s starting to look/feel MORE like a wave election..
The expansion of Medicare was a good thing!
How in the aitch-eee-double-L does accepting money that the gov’t has (with threat of near certain criminal punishment for non-compliance) taken from others “reclaim the dignity they had lost over years of being turned away from doctors’ offices because they did not have insurance.”
This country is doomed. One can only hope some pieces survive.
And the Repubs could counter with.. “It took the overturning of an entire industry and the loss of millions of Americans’ medical care plans they liked for something that could have been achieved a lot mess painfully?”
Not only that, but try using Medicaid. Most physicians want nothing to do with it since it pays almost nothing.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t the financial responsibility of maintaining the newly expanded Medicaid fall to the states in a couple years?
Ssshhhh, you’ll let the cat out of the bag!
Exactly right. But what is the narrative that the Lame stream press will be running 24/7 before the election? We need to be ready, and have our own narrative that shows the drop in the availability of doctors for an expanded program, and how that will dramatically affect the quality of healthcare for the poorest among us...
And what are all of the States that agreed to significantly expand their Medicare rolls going to do when the Feds stop paying the subsidies?
There’s no way the Feds can pay 100% to each State for the huge increases in Medicade enrollees that are occurring instead of Obamacare enrollees. ....They can’t raise taxes that much! Those States will be going broke and Doctors will be retiring in droves. ...Many Docs now want even take Medicare patients and they are paid even less from Medicaid.
Medicaid offers very little in the way of care but for sure it offers large, very large waiting times.
This libtard author may be on to something....the sheeple love their getsmedat....free medical care....
The idiot pubbies need to address this by making sure people understand nothing is “free” and hard working tax payers in these states will pick up the tab....
I am sure the GOP will double down on stupid and offer free donuts for life with your free Medicaid if you vote for us .../ S
“The GOP has made opposition to ObamaCare a central pillar of its 2014 campaign strategy.”
I stopped reading after the first sentence. When you start an article with an obvious lie, why read it. The Republicans haven’t done crap to oppose Obamacare.
Obama has found the key to containing health care costs - just dont pay doctors!
The man is a genius.
No matter how extreme any issues are, there’s NFW the GOP will win anything. We’re so naive that we still fall back on believing that issues are important, when the dems’ well-oiled cheating machine has already been perfected. We’re dooooomed.
If you are not one of the unemployed who may have worked for a number of years,purchased a home,a car,other personal assets of any value,you are happy,free insurance policy,if you can find a doctor,if not sign on to Medicaid and forget passing any of your assets on,if you don’t lose them from bankruptcy first,because the government gets it all to pay for your Medicaid,the biggest transfer of wealth and property to come.
Way to go Obama
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