Senate GOP Medicaid Repeal: Win the Battle But Possibly Lose The War
With pressure from conservatives to finally “kill” Obamacare, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) apparently has the votes to pass a repeal bill that also includes a provision to gut an expansion of Medicaid, which put millions of low-income Americans on the insurance rolls.
While this may be a GOP ‘win’ on the Senate floor, it could mean the loss of key incumbent GOP Senate contests in tight races like Ohio (Rob Portman) and New Hampshire (Kelly Ayotte). Mitch McConnell is as sophisticated as they come in reading polling data, and he surely knows that “taking away” someone’s healthcare will have electoral ramifications in Ohio and New Hampshire — both of which have expanded Medicaid under Governors John Kasich (R-OH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH).
McConnell and the Senate GOP leadership must view the need to pass a Senate ‘repeal’ vote as essential to maintaining their credibility — and they may very well be correct. But there is little doubt Portman, Ayotte and several other GOP incumbents will pay a steep price if Democrats are able to define the terms of debate on this issue — and it WILL be an issue.
Obamacare is a disaster, but in a tight Senate race in battleground states like Ohio and New Hampshire, this repeal vote places Portman and Ayotte in clear and present danger.