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Republican Gubernatorial Victories Keep Medicaid Expansion in the Waiting Room

— November 5, 2014

As I wrote yesterday, about 5 million Americans cannot afford health insurance under Obamacare, yet do not qualify for Medicaid coverage.  Unfortunately, a number of gubernatorial candidates who oppose medicaid expansion won elections last night.

According to Avalere Health, medicaid could be expanded as a result of gubernatorial races in at least six states: Alaska, Maine, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Wisconsin, and Alaska – but given the election results, this is unlikely.

In a 48-47% victory, Bill Walker won the Alaska race for governor.  He has no party affiliation, and fortunately, he’s declared he will “implement Medicaid expansion on Day One.” (link)  Sadly, the good news stops there.

In Maine, Governor Paul LePage (R) retained his seat with 48% of the vote.  He has blocked Medicaid expansion five times, and rolled back coverage in 2014.  Rick Scott (R) won the Florida gubernatorial race and opposes Medicaid expansion.

Georgia Republican Nathan Deal defeated his Democratic opponent, Jason Carter, winning the race for Governor with 53% of the vote in that state.  Mr. Deal has rejected proposals for the expansion of Medicaid many times.

In Kansas, Republican Governor Sam Brownback won the election with 50% of the vote.  This year, he vowed not to expand Medicaid coverage.

Lastly, Scott Walker, incumbent Republican Governor of Wisconsin, also held his seat with 52-47% victory.  He too has been resistant to expansions of Medicaid.

Poor Democratic turnout for midterm elections could have played an important role in the outcome of these races, but nonetheless, the voters have spoken: to the detriment of millions of Americans, expansion of Medicaid will have to wait.

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