Friday, August 29, 2014

A huge step forward for Obamacare: Pennsylvania's Republican governor embraces Medicaid expansion

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Greg Sargent reports:

In another sign that the politics of Obamacare continue to shift, the Medicaid expansion is now all but certain to come to another big state whose Republican governor had previously resisted it: Pennsylvania.

The federal government has approved Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett's application for the state's own version of the Medicaid expansion, without a handful of the conditions Corbett had hoped to impose, Dem sources tell me.

Corbett just announced that he will accept the expansion that has been offered, perhaps with some last-minute changes — expanding coverage and subsidies to as many as half a million people.

As a Republican, Corbett either opposed Obamacare on principle (however ignorant) or had to pretend to oppose it, or at least thought he did. So even though Pennsylvania is mostly a blue state, it's an extremely positive sign that he has come around.

Yes, the politics of Obamacare continue to shift, as it entrenches itself as the law of the land and proves to be a success. Democrats demand its implementation and overall the electorate is either embracing it or softening, and clearly Corbett realized that he could no longer oppose Medicaid expansion. It's shameless political calculation, no doubt, but it's telling that the calculation is that the pro-Obamacare position is the more desirable one. Don't expect this to happen in hardened red states, at least not anytime soon, but slowly and surely Obamacare is succeeding.

And just take a look at that figure. We're talking about health care coverage expansion to hundreds of thousands of people. That alone is significant, as these are people who need Medicaid and obviously cannot pay for health care otherwise. But what's also significant, let us not forget, is that we're talking not just about Medicaid recipients, but about citizens, about voters, which is what most of them are. And voters will have their voices heard, and those who were against them -- namely, Republicans -- will ultimately face their electoral wrath.

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