The tough politics of Medicaid for Republicans

As the midterms approach, GOP governors are grappling with their shortsighted rejection of one of ObamaCare's central pillars

Medicaid
(Image credit: (Scott Olson/Getty Images))

In the world of Republican politics, there is no surer bet than opposing ObamaCare. But conservative obstruction to the health care overhaul may finally be catching up with a handful of Republican governors running for re-election. Their rejection of ObamaCare's expansion of Medicaid — the federal health assistance program for the poor and disabled — has them losing both the argument and voters.

Princeton political scientist Sam Wang recently published an analysis of polling data from this year's gubernatorial races. It found that Republican incumbents who resisted ObamaCare's Medicaid expansion — including Wisconsin's Scott Walker, Pennsylvania's Tom Corbett, and Kansas' Sam Brownback — are in much tighter races than those who accepted it. "Republican governors who bucked their party's stance and accepted the policy are faring better with voters — in these races, an average of 8.5 percentage points better," Wang discovered.

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