It’s arguable that the Republican electoral success in 2010 had its origins in voter anger over the passage of ObamaCare. Republicans won governor seats, state legislative majorities, and a majority in the US House. It was pretty clear what the voters were looking for.
Fast forward to 2014, and you are seeing Republican candidates and officials discreetly, in discussions about ObamaCare, replacing the word “repeal” with “replace” or “fix”. The AP can’t contain its glee as it reports on Republicans across the country reportedly seeing ObamaCare as a permanent fixture in American society:
While Republicans in Congress shout, “Repeal Obamacare,” GOP governors in many states have quietly accepted the law’s major Medicaid expansion. Even if their party wins control of the Senate in the upcoming elections, they just don’t see the law going away.
Nine Republican governors have expanded Medicaid for low-income people in their states, despite their own misgivings and adamant opposition from conservative legislators. Three more governors are negotiating with the Democratic administration in Washington.
Rather than demanding repeal, the governors generally have sought federal concessions to make their decisions more politically acceptable at home. That approach is in sharp contrast to the anti-Obamacare fervor of their party in Congress. […]
Good news for the hundreds of thousands of truck drivers, janitors, day-care attendants, fast-food servers and other low-income workers in North Carolina: Gov. Pat McCrory and the legislature may soon reconsider their long-standing opposition to Medicaid expansion.
Aldona Wos, the state Health and Human Services secretary, told the Observer editorial board Wednesday that with some flexibility from the federal government on how things are structured, a half-million or so state residents could become newly eligible for health insurance.
“We really are evaluating the different options and will be presenting them to the governor,” Wos said, echoing what she has told others in recent weeks. “But the road to the end result is a rather long road.”
This marks a dramatic and important turnaround. McCrory, Wos and Republican legislative leaders opposed Medicaid expansion from the first time they considered that provision of the Affordable Care Act. Now they might be open to it, attracting more than $30 billion of federal money in the next eight years to provide health insurance to 300,000 to 500,000 residents – at very little cost to N.C. taxpayers.
Amazing. As though that federal tax money comes from — and is the responsibility of — SOMEBODY ELSE. Not us. MORE:
McCrory said all along that the state’s Medicaid program was “broken” and so shouldn’t be expanded. He also worried that the federal government wouldn’t live up to its promise to pay 100 percent of the cost for the first three years and 90 percent for years after that.
But Wos recently announced a $63 million budget surplus for the state’s Medicaid program. She told the editorial board that the program is on sound footing and so now expansion is worth considering.
“We obviously have stabilized the department … in a meaningful way,” she said. As for trusting the federal government to hold up its end of the deal, Wos praised other states that have proposed a “clever” solution: Agree to expand Medicaid, but tell the feds the state will quit the minute the federal funding dries up.
*SIGH*. Until people recognize that the battle is bigger than Ds vs. Rs. — actually freedom vs. authoritarianism — we, as a state and a nation, are going to keep heading toward that cliff.