Democrats running for Congress have distanced themselves from Obamacare this election cycle, but in five states, the party's gubernatorial candidates are rallying behind a push to expand Medicaid programs under the new federal healthcare law.
According to The Hill
, candidates in highly competitive races in Florida, Maine, Kansas, Wisconsin, and Georgia have all made the issue central to their platforms. If elected, an additional 1.7 million people could be covered under Obamacare resulting in an additional $120 billion added to the federal budget over the next decade by one estimate.
"The only thing stopping us from being able to expand access to care is one man — [Maine GOP] Gov. [Paul] LePage," said Lizzy Reinholt, spokeswoman for Democratic challenger Rep. Mike Michaud. "There's no doubt that Republicans have tried to message it in a way that makes folks less likely to support it. But at the same time, the facts are clear."
A Michaud victory would earn Maine an estimated $3.1 billion dollars from the federal government over the next ten years, The Hill reported. LePage vetoed five different bills to expand Medicaid.
In Florida, former Gov. Charlie Crist has been pushing for Medicaid expansion in the race against GOP Gov. Rick Scott. Scott, however, changed his position on the matter and now supports expansion for the next three years.
And in Georgia, Democratic challenger Jason Carter has argued that the state would lose billions of dollars if it re-elects GOP Gov. Nathan Deal, but he has been hammered with attack ads by the Republican Governors Association for his stance.
"It's our money, and Nathan Deal wants Washington to keep it," Carter said during an event this summer, according to The Hill.
Democrats in the five states believe the issue is a populist vote winner. A poll released Thursday showed that six out of 10 voters in states that have not expanded Medicaid coverage believe all states should expand it, including 36 percent of Republicans.
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