Medicaid Expansion In Gubernatorial Races

There’s an informative article up at National Journal by Karyn Bruggeman explaining why Republicans haven’t made savage opposition to the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion the kind of national meta-issue it has become for them in Senate races. For one thing, Republican governors are themselves split on the subject; for another, competitive gubernatorial races aren’t concentrated on red turf quite like the Senate landscape.

The question Bruggeman doesn’t ask or answer, however, is why Democratic gubernatorial candidates in states that have rejected the Medicaid expansion aren’t making a bigger issue of that decision. For one thing, rejecting the insanely generous federal match for the expansion is, well, fiscally insane. For another, rejecting the expansion means one’s taxpayers are subsidizing the expansion in other states. And finally, the Medicaid expansion controversy is not remotely as complex as the welter of issues surrounding the Obamacare exchanges.

I suspect these realities will eventually produce some robust Democratic messaging in gubernatorial elections as November grows nearer. And maybe they help explain why Republicans as a whole aren’t Going There.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.