In Louisiana, Sen. Mary Landrieu is running on one aspect of Obamacare of which she has generally been one of the most frequent Democratic critics. But that ends when it comes to the Medicaid expansion, and it has become a centerpiece in her re-election campaign, a hint that more Democrats in red states are looking at this issue for 2014. Landrieu is running against both her GOP opponent Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Gov. Bobby Jindal.
“Our governor may not like the president, but this is not about the president,” she writes. “It's about providing health coverage for 240,000 Louisianans who work 40 or 50 hours a week, but still make too little to qualify for assistance in the new marketplace—and too much to qualify for Louisiana’s current Medicaid.”Medicaid expansion, according to a Pew poll conducted late last year, is very popular in Louisiana, with 63 percent support. It also gets majority support in Virginia, Tennessee, and Maine, to name a few of the states which have yet to expand or are in the middle of a political fight to make it happen.
Meanwhile, Republicans are maintaining their conviction that their denial of health care to millions of people is no big deal.
“To me, ObamaCare is 1,000 times bigger than the Medicaid issue,” said GOP strategist Matt Mackowiak, who described Medicaid is a peripheral issue.Republicans remain convinced that voters—who have been telling pollsters for months and months that they are sick of the Obamacare fight—will be going to the polls in November because of Obamacare. And their base voters probably will be. The thing is, it's the rest of the people in these red states who are drowning, and they're drowning because of Republican policies, on the minimum wage and equal pay and women's issues. And health care. It's important for Democrats to be pointing that out, but it's just as important that they get those voters to the polls. A strong message on Medicaid, and on other basic pocketbook issues, is a good way to start.
“It’s kind of like when you’re drowning, you grab for anything you can,” he continued. “So they’re pulling out minimum wage, equal pay, violence against women, and their other go-to issues. But to me, ObamaCare is so much bigger than all that.”