Market Mad House

In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule. Friedrich Nietzsche


Surprise Red State Voters want more Medicaid Expansion

Strong popular support for single-payer health insurance exists in the Red States. Polls indicate voters in Idaho, Utah, Nebraska, and Montana will approve a massive Medicaid expansion this fall.

Medicaid is the state-administered, federally-funded single-payer health insurance program for lower-income people. Voters in Idaho, Utah, and Nebraska will probably bypass lawmakers by approving Medicaid-expansion ballot-initiatives polls indicate. Montana voters are likely to continue Medicaid expansion in that state.

The popularity of Medicaid expansion is a massive defeat for conservatives and Republicans who blocked it in state legislatures. The Medicaid expansion is apparently the only popular component of Obamacare.

Medicaid expansion has strong popular support in Republican-dominated Red States, The Los Angeles Times reported. Two-thirds of voters in Utah supported Medicaid expansion in a Utah Policy poll.

Medicaid War in Maine

History suggests Medicaid expansion will pass. A measure in Maine passed by 59%, The Daily Intelligencer reported. Unfortunately, Republican Governor Paul LaPage blocked it.

Page vetoed an implementation law and refused to enforce the ballot measure. LaPage has run afoul of his state’s highest judicial authority, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court which ordered him to begin implementing expansion.

La Page will probably appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court which is likely not to reject his appeal. Chief Justice John Roberts is a strong backer of states’ rights who opposes federal interference in state governance.

Medicaid Expansion Defeat for Republicans

The popularity of Medicaid expansion is a massive defeat for Republicans and movement conservatives.

The polls indicate Red state voters want more government-funded health insurance. That might create an opening for Democrats, particularly Democrats pushing more radical measures like expanding Medicaid to all adults.

A popular measure would be to allow all adults to buy into Medicaid. Nevada’s state legislature passed a bill to do just that last year. Republican Governor Brian Sandoval vetoed the measure.

Another popular move would be to let businesses buy Medicaid coverage for employees. That would be very popular with small businesses, especially in rural areas where Obamacare exchanges offer few choices.

Either expansion would effectively wipeout the private health insurance business because Medicaid would be far cheaper and more comprehensive than its products. Democrats are likely to put such measures on the ballot in an effort to bring out more voters.

Why Trump will Advocate Medicaid Expansion

The popularity of Medicaid expansion demonstrates that Republicans need to change their tune on single-payer. Backing Medicaid-expansion is a good way for the Grand Old Party (GOP) to increase working class support, and block Democratic gains in Red States.

I have to wonder when the single-payer fan and Medicaid advocate in the White House is going to jump on the Medicaid expansion bandwagon. Polls from Red States are likely to convince President Donald J. (Trump R-New York) that is time to expand Medicaid to all Americans.

If Trump seeks reelection in 2020, he will start advocating Medicaid expansion. The problem Trump will face is doctrinaire conservatives that refuse to support any Medicaid expansion. A likely scenario is Trump Tweeting in support of Medicaid and attacking conservatives.

Medicaid might trigger a major political battle within the GOP that will strengthen Trump. The Donald can portray himself as the hero protecting working people’s health insurance. His opponents can be cast as heartless villains trying to take medicine out of sick people’s hands.

Opposition to Medicaid expansion is likely to destroy many Republican careers and cost the GOP its legislative majorities in states like Maine. Republicans will have to embrace Medicaid if they want to keep Red States Red.