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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

GOP Opposition to Medicaid Expansion Backfiring in Red States

Sally Kohn reports some encouraging news for Dems in her Daily Beast post “New Poll Shows Voters in Red States Want to Expand Medicaid: A core part of Obamacare is popular in states from Kansas to Georgia where Republicans are blocking it. They’ll pay come November.” Says Kohn:

…Republicans face stiff opposition from voters in states where they blocked Medicaid expansion…According to new polling by Public Policy Poling conducted for MoveOn, in voters support Medicaid expansion in key states by wide margins: 52 to 35 percent in Kansas, 58 to 33 percent in Florida, 59 to 30 percent in Pennsylvania, 54 to 38 percent in Georgia. All are states where Medicaid expansion has been blocked by Republican politicians. In Virginia, where the GOP has also blocked Medicaid expansion, a previous poll found that even a majority of state Republican voters support extending coverage for the state’s low-income residents. And other polls show that three-out-of-four Americans nationwide, including a majority of Republicans, support Medicaid expansion.

Kohn reports that tone-deaf, Obama-deranged Republicans are nonetheless “actively, single-handedly blocking health coverage for 5 million Americans in 24 states.” The consequences are extremely serious:

One academic study suggests that of those 5 million, 10,000 Americans will die this year alone due to lack of insurance. The Medicaid expansion is the law of the land, it’s already paid for, and 5 million more Americans would be getting coverage if Republican politicians hadn’t taken it away because of petty partisanship. Largely because Republicans want to spite President Obama on a key piece of his namesake, thousands of Americans may die.

Kohn cites Obamacare’s increasing popularity and continues, “as the law’s positive effects continue to spread, running against Obamacare will be increasingly self-destructive. Of course, that won’t stop the “kamikaze caucus.” Also,

The take-away for voters is clear: Democrats are actively working to provide affordable care and insurance to Americans, while Republicans are actively working to deny coverage to Americans by restricting Medicaid and attacking Obamacare in general. Polls show Republicans are already on the losing side of this issue. As voters hear more and more stories of Americans able to afford a heart transplant or get their cancer detected early thanks to Obamacare, versus stories about rural hospitals closing and Americans not getting care they need because Republicans blocked Medicaid expansion, voters will even more emphatically support the Democrats.

Kohn acknowledges the pundit buzz favoring Republicans and the fact that it’s early for Dems to get overly optimistic. But she concludes that, “in terms of Obamacare, the landscape will just keep getting better for Democrats as petty, partisan Republican obstructionists continue to keep hurting themselves–and their poor constituents.”
Republican opposition to Medicaid expansion is essentially indefensible and the horror stories resulting from it are mounting almost daily. If Democrats do their job in terms of revealing the effects of the GOP’s reckless disregard for the health of Americans and getting the RAE voters cited below to the polls, Dems should be able to hold the Senate and do better than expected in the House, state legislatures and governorships.

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