“Well look, if I went out here on the street today [and said], ‘You guys want free health care?’ I expect you’d have a lot of signups,” he said. “People signing up for something that is free” is the only thing about Obamacare in Kentucky that could be considered successful.Sargent wonders whether Democrats can win running on Medicaid and against attitudes like McConnell's, and the perception that the law mostly benefits poor people, but won't help them.
Asked more than once what parts of Obamacare, if any, were beneficial to the millions of people in the country without health care, McConnell had only one answer, stating repeatedly: “The law should be repealed.”
Dems may well worry that if the Medicaid expansion gets framed solely as expanding a government program for the poor—the handout that McConnell describes—it could put them at risk. Dems will probably emphasize that the expansion is sound budgetary policy, arguing that it makes sense for states to accept huge amounts of federal money.Medicaid expansion, though, is more than just budgetary policy and it's more than just assistance to the poor. The number of community hospitals closing, particularly in rural areas in red states, shows dramatically that it's not just about the uninsured. The hospitals are closing because they are losing Medicaid funding that Medicaid expansion was supposed to replace. When Republicans refuse to take the Medicaid expansion and don't come up with any replacement funding, hospitals close.
Those hospitals don't just close for poor people. They close for everybody. And health emergencies don't just happen to poor people, they happen to everybody. The lack of health care access to entire communities because of stupid, stubborn Republican opposition to Obamacare is definitely something Democrats can run on.