Want to reduce the number of uninsured people in your state three times faster?
Here’s a crazy idea: Stop sabotaging Obamacare!
A new poll from Gallup finds that states that built their own insurance exchanges and expanded Medicaid reduced their uninsured population by 2.5 percent, compared to .8 percent in states that did not, despite the fact that state-run exchanges in Maryland and Oregon suffered from technological problems even more severe than HealthCare.gov.
The Washington Post‘s Greg Sargent points out that that the conversation on Obamacare is changing. Republicans are relying on embracing the law’s goals while still rejecting the law itself.
The Federalist‘s David Harsanyi notes that Republicans have been saying things like “we want every American to have quality, affordable access to health care” since 2009. That statement was hollow after they did nothing to expand insurance coverage as the number of insured Americans went down by 7.9 million under George W. Bush. And it’s even more hollow in 2014, after President Obama was re-elected on defending the law, around 12 million more Americans have coverage, and Republicans have never voted on a plan to replace the Affordable Care Act.
It’s likely — as Democracy Corps’ Stan Greenberg has suggested — that this issue will result in a draw in 2014, with the economy being the deciding factor for whether Democrats can keep the two of seven seats in states Mitt Romney won that they’ll need to maintain their Senate majority. Other issues, like the minimum wage and personhood, may prove to be the wedges that help Democrats win tough races.
But there could be an echo of what happened in 2012 — when a slew of new voting restrictions were enacted to help elect Republicans — on the horizon.
“But the GOP’s suppression strategy failed,” The Nation‘s Ari Berman wrote. “Ten major restrictive voting laws were blocked in court and turnout among young, black and Hispanic voters increased as a share of the electorate relative to 2008.”
There’s also an echo of who was most affected by the GOP’s War on Voting in the Republican refusal to expand Medicaid, The Atlantic‘s Ta-Nehisi Coates noted last year:
Approximately a fifth (about 18 percent) of all people who will remain untouched by the Medicaid expansion are black. When you start drilling down to the states where those black people tend to live, it gets worse. In Virginia and North Carolina, 30 percent of those who are going to miss out are black. In South Carolina and Georgia, the number is around 40 percent. In Louisiana and Mississippi, you are talking about 50 percent of those who would be eligible for the expansion but who will go uncovered.
If these voters showed up at the polls with the intent of getting the expansion of health insurance their state is paying for anyway, it could change several elections and help Democrats keep the Senate.
Here are five states where Obamacare may help Democrats win.
Photo: LeDawna’s Pics via Flickr