A big takeaway from Tuesday’s elections was that health care – specifically, Obamacare’s expansion of Medicaid – is of great importance to many voters.
In Virginia, where the GOP-controlled House of Delegates had blocked Medicaid expansion for years, voters elected a whole slate of Democratic candidates who have pressed for Medicaid expansion that would cover roughly 400,000 people in the state. In exit polls, four out of 10 Virginia voters said health care was their top issue.
“All the folks who fought me on Medicaid expansion, they all got blown out,” said outgoing Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who will be replaced as governor by the current lieutenant governor, Democrat Ralph Northam.
Voters in Maine also overwhelmingly approved a ballot initiative calling for Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act.
The outcomes in Virginia and Maine signal that states are looking for health-care solutions while congressional Republicans continue to work to dismantle the ACA and find a palatable replacement.
This week, Republicans considered including a repeal of the Obamacare individual mandate in the tax bill, but ultimately decided against it.