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.

Washington Monthly - Donate Today and your gift will be doubled!

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.